Medical Definition of Artificial pacemaker

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Artificial pacemaker: A device that uses electrical impulses to regulate the heart rhythm or reproduce it. An internal pacemaker is one in which the electrodes to the heart, the electronic circuitry, and the power supply are all implanted internally, within the body. Although there are different types of pacemakers, all are designed to treat a heart rate that is too slow (bradycardia). Pacemakers may function continuously and stimulate the heart at a fixed rate, or they may function at an increased rate during exercise. A pacemaker can also be programmed to detect an overly long pause between heartbeats and then stimulate the heart.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/25/2017

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