If your heart doctor has recommended that you get a pacemaker, you might be feeling a little scared. You have to trust that your electro-cardiologist is only recommending this procedure because he or she feels it will benefit you in the long run. There is nothing to be afraid of with regard to getting a pacemaker, but there are risks you should be worried about if you do go without getting one.
Reasons for getting a pacemaker differ but for most people the devices are recommended to regulate an irregular heartbeat or assist with maintaining a regular heartbeat if there are pauses. Some patients have four or five-second pauses which could prove deadly as they get older. During a pause, a patient could faint and this is problematic if this occurs when the patient is driving. Taking your blood pressure regularly is an important action to do and may be the first indication of an irregular heartbeat.
The technology behind pacemakers has been around for nearly half a century so it can also be trusted. Once you get your pacemaker implanted, you will barely even notice it.
New and more high-tech devices are being experimented with for regulating heart rates. Ask your doctor about these new devices which are about the size of a pacemaker battery and can be controlled remotely. Ordinary pacemakers are also set remotely and can be monitored by your electro-cardiologist and staff. But these newer, experimental pacemakers operate exclusively by remote settings and can last up to 10 years or more before requiring a replacement.
These devices work using the same principles as traditional pacemakers but they are implanted through a vein in the upper leg and inserted into the heart. This might sound drastic, but because the heart is a muscle it can handle supporting the tiny device. If you and your electro-cardiologist can opt for a Nanostim device, you will, in the United States, have to take part in a seven-year study as they have yet to be cleared by the FDA officially. They have passed all regulatory studies in Europe.
If you are getting a traditional pacemaker, the operation is simple. Your doctor may be able to conduct it in the morning and send you home later in the afternoon. You will get either a single-chamber or double-chamber pacemaker implanted in your upper chest just under the skin.
There are leads which go from the device to the heart. These are what send the pulses from the device to the heart to regulate its beating. When you go to the operating room, you will either receive a sedative and be put into a twilight sleep for the procedure or you will receive a local anesthetic and remain awake during the procedure. Most procedures take about an hour.