A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device that senses when the heart is beating irregularly or too slowly. It then sends a signal to the heart that makes it beat at the correct pace.
The procedure to implant a pacemaker does not require open heart surgery, and most patients go home within 24 hours. Before the surgery, medication may be given to make the patient sleepy and comfortable. Generally, the procedure is performed under local anesthesia.
A pacemaker is implanted under the skin. This procedure takes about 1 hour in most cases.
A small incision is made. Most often, the cut is on the left side of the chest below the collarbone. The pacemaker generator is then placed under the skin at this location. The generator may also be placed in the abdomen, but this is less common. A new “leadless” pacemaker is a self-contained unit that is implanted in the right ventricle of the heart.
Using live x-rays to see the area, a Deborah Specialty Physician puts the leads through the cut, into a vein, and then into the heart. The leads are connected to the generator. The skin is closed with stitches.
Most patients go home within 1 day of the procedure. The battery will be checked regularly and replaced when necessary.