In 1958, a 43-year-old Swedish man received the first implanted pacemaker to treat a condition that caused his heart to stop many times a day. Considering his situation, doctors thought History of the Pacemakerit was hopeless until the pacemaker came along. Arne Larsson lived to the age of 86, doubling the length of his life and outlasting 26 more pacemakers over the course of 43 years.
In the years since this early success, it’s now routine to use pacemakers as regulators for a wide range of heart disorders that affect the natural electrical signal that controls the heart. The team at ARK Cardiovascular Center can help you with the decision to implant a pacemaker. Our cardiologists are pacemaker specialists, able to diagnose and treat your condition in the most effective way possible. Here’s why you may need pacemaker assistance.
Contemporary pacemakers are tiny, flat ovals less than two-inches long and one-quarter-inch thick. They have one or two leads called electrodes that feed into chambers on the right side of the heart. The pacemaker body houses a generator, microprocessor, and battery, and it’s typically implanted in the upper left chest, just beneath the collarbone.
Batteries typically last up to seven years, and they don’t die quickly, so there’s no concern about the pacemaker suddenly failing. A pacemaker isn’t running all the time. The microprocessor senses your heart’s condition and sends corrective signals to restore normal heart rhythm.
Typically, your heart has a regular, steady rhythm, beating somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute, faster if you’re exerting yourself. Pacemakers can help when the speed or interval of your heartbeat deviates from normal. They also serve to protect against problems for at-risk patients.
The most common form of heart arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, or AFib, can be treated with a pacemaker. Signals from the device reset your heart into a normal, regular pattern.
It’s okay to have a heart rate less than 60 beats per minute, but it might indicate that you have bradycardia when accompanied by other symptoms. A pacemaker can speed your heart rate to a safe level.
Inherited genetic traits could affect your heart, and a pacemaker might be part of the best treatment to limit the effects of these traits.
Chest pain can be a sign of heart attack or heart disease. If you’re at risk, adding a pacemaker may help you avoid future problems.
A condition where communication between upper and lower heart chambers suffers communication failure; heart block requires resynchronizing your heartbeat. Pacemakers can control this process.
A type of device called a biventricular pacemaker helps to improve the efficiency of the heartbeat for patients with congestive heart failure.
The heart’s natural pacemaker is the sinus node in the heart’s right atrium, which can cause irregular heart rhythms. An artificial pacemaker can correct the problem signals.
As with bradycardia, it’s also okay to have a fast heart rate of over 100 beats per minute. Sometimes, though, it could be part of an unhealthy heart problem. Some forms of tachycardia can be treated with a pacemaker.
Contact ARK Cardiovascular Center at any of our four locations to follow up on heart health concerns. Call the nearest office directly or use our online appointment scheduling tool to book your visit now.