A problem with the heart's electrical system can lead to an abnormal heartbeat (or arrhythmia) that is either irregular, too slow or too fast. For patients with an abnormally slow heart rhythm, a cardiologist will often recommend a pacemaker to help maintain a normal heart rate.
Heart Center of the Rockies leads the region in the number of completed pacemaker implantations. With two highly-skilled electrophysiologists on staff and a team of cardiac professionals to support them, we're here for you.
A pacemaker is a battery-powered implantable device that is used to assist hearts that beat too slowly. If the device senses that the heart is beating too slowly, it will send electrical impulses to keep the heart beating at the proper rate. A pacemaker is prescribed for patients who have symptoms-including lightheadedness, fainting spells, and fatigue-that are due to a slow heartbeat (or bradycardia). There are many different types of pacemakers, most of which can adjust your heart rate based on your physical activities. Your physician will recommend the type of pacemaker that is best suited to your lifestyle.
Placement of a temporary pacemaker may be necessary to stabilize the heart rate before a permanent pacemaker can be implanted. It is used for a short period of time, ranging from hours to days, to prevent an emergency caused by a heart rate that is beating too slowly. It is inserted through a vein in your neck or groin.
A permanent pacemaker is usually placed under the skin on the chest wall just below the collarbone. You may be able to see its outline under the skin. The pacemaker is connected to wires (called leads) which are positioned inside the heart chambers. These leads transmit the electrical signal from the pacemaker to your heart and cause the heart to beat at a proper rate. A pacemaker is placed during a procedure called an implantation.
Consistent follow-up is important after a pacemaker is implanted. Heart Center of the Rockies offers a pacemaker clinic where pacemaker devices are checked to ensure proper working order.