Pacemaker & Defibrillator Implantation
Arrhythmia treatments on the West Bank
The heart pumps when electrical currents are transmitted to the muscles. When these electrical signals act erratically, the result is an irregular heartbeat, also called an arrhythmia. While not all arrhythmias are dangerous, some can cause serious side effects and be a symptom of a weakened heart muscle. If medication and other non-invasive treatments are not enough to remedy the problem, a cardiologist may recommend a pacemaker or automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillator (AICD) implant.
These are small devices placed under the skin near the heart that detect irregular heartbeats and send out electrical shocks to regulate the heart’s rhythm. They can also record when your heart starts acting irregularly to help the cardiologist determine the cause of the abnormal heartbeat.
A pacemaker is typically recommended for patients with slow heartbeats. The pacemaker is inserted just under the collarbone above the heart. Wires are attached to the heart that sends signals to the device to let it know when it starts to slow down. When the heart starts acting abnormally, the pacemaker will send a low pulse electrical shock to stimulate a faster heartbeat.
Most pacemakers are intended to last a lifetime, and you will have to make some lifestyle changes to avoid disturbing the machinery.
Things to remember if you have a pacemaker:
- Though microwaves used to be dangerous for patients with pacemakers, modern models are well-insulated and should not cause a problem.
- Metal detectors such as those found in an airport will usually detect a pacemaker, so you should inform someone you have one before going through.
- You should not undergo an MRI if you have a pacemaker
The AICD implant is similar to a pacemaker, but there are some key differences. The most important difference is that AICD is used for patients are used for patients with a high risk for sudden cardiac arrest. For this reason, they use both low dose electrical impulses and high energy pulses to adjust the heart as needed.
Patients who may require an AICD include people:
- In danger of sudden cardiac arrest
- With extremely fast heartbeats
- With an enlarged heart or related conditions