A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device that senses when your heart is beating irregularly or too slowly. It sends a signal to your heart that makes your heart beat at the correct pace. This article discusses what you need to do to take care of yourself when you leave the hospital.
When You're in the Hospital
You had a pacemaker placed in your chest to help your heart beat properly.
- A small cut was made on your chest below your collarbone. The pacemaker generator was then placed under the skin at this location.
- Leads (wires) were connected to the pacemaker, and one end of the wires was threaded through a vein into your heart. The skin over the area where the pacemaker was placed was closed with stitches.
Most pacemakers have only one or two wires that go to the heart. These wires stimulate one or more of the chambers of the heart to squeeze (contract) when the heartbeat gets too slow. A special type of pacemaker can be used for patients with heart failure. It has three leads to help the heart beat in a more coordinated manner.
Some pacemakers also can deliver electric shocks to the heart that can stop life-threatening arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). These are called "cardioverter defibrillators."
You should know what type of pacemaker you have and what company made it.