Every year, millions of people from all over the world receive operations that will save their lives. Representing the culmination of decades of research as we embrace the advancement and application of technology, individuals are having options now where the future would otherwise be grim. From the incredible benefits an EKG machine can provide to the functionality of a pace maker, technology only continues to improve as people are spared from unnecessary pain and suffering.
Let’s take a moment to review the pacemaker. Along with providing a basic description of the device, we will also review what the procedure is like, as well as recovery. In addition, we will discuss other aspects of pace maker surgery, including a pacemaker for afib.
What Is A Pacemaker?
Placed in the chest or abdomen, a pacemaker is a small device that helps to control abnormal heart rhythms. Proving otherwise risky to one’s health, the pacemaker helps to create less stress in the body through the creation of a rhythm that also reduces the chances of future damage or stress. All of this is accomplished through an electrical pulse that the pacemaker releases. Timed to be a steady pattern of pulses, the pacemaker helps the heart get into a rhythm.
Pacemakers are frequently used to help individuals who are having issues with arrhythmias. Standing for problems of the rate and rhythm of a heartbeat, an arrhythmia is best solved through the use of a pacemaker. Whether it is for a tachycardia (heart is beating too fast) or a bradycardia (heart is beating too slow), the end result can be a shortness of breath, fatigue, and even fainting. Helping a person live a more normal lifestyle, the pacemaker can provide a great deal of relief both from the symptoms of arrhythmias as well as the psychological discomfort that comes from the uncertainty of irregular heart rate.
What Is The Process of Pacemaker Surgery Like?
The pacemaker procedure is minimally invasive and is often considered a minor surgery as a result. It is often conducted at a special heart treatment center or at a hospital by a doctor familiar with the procedure. Prior to the beginning of the procedure, the area around the point where the pacemaker will be inserted will be numbed. An IV may be hooked up before hand to provide muscle as well as pain killers. Antibiotics will also be given to help reduce the chances of an infection occuring during the procedure.
The surgery begins with the doctor finding a large vein, usually along your back. After this vein is found, the doctor will insert a needle and will thread the pacemaker and place the end in your heart. All of these will be observable through an x-ray movie that will help show the doctor the progress he or she is making. Once the wires have been correctly placed, the doctor will then a make asmall cut into the skin around the abdomen or chest. Being a small metal box, the pacemaker will be slipped under the skin and connected to the wire. With the pacemaker attached, the doctor will test the pacemaker to make sure it is working properly. If it is, then the doctor will sew up the wound and the procedure will be complete. With this in mind, the entire procedure should last only a few hours. In addition, you should be fully back on your feet after about 3 weeks.
Along with the details listing the procedure above, there are a few additional things you should be aware of for this surgery. First, the procedure will take place while you are awake. Being done while you are awake is important as it allows any potential problems to be more easily identified. However, the procedure is sometimes done with people asleep. After having the pacemaker installed, it is standard to spend one day in the hospital for careful monitoring. In addition, another visit is usually scheduled down the road to check up on the pacemaker and make sure it is functioning fully. In addition to these visits, it is not uncommon for doctors to recommend staying away from heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for around a month. You may also be recommended over the counter pain-relief to deal with the aches that may result from the surgery.
After you have had pacemaker surgery, there will be some additional considerations you must work into your daily routine. The first is cellphones. It is often recommended that you do not keep a cellphone pressed against the area where the pacemaker is. There is a small chance that the pacemaker may accidently interpret a signal from the cellphone as a signal from the pacemaker. While this is not usually harmful, it can sometimes cause fatigue or dizziness. Metal detectors can be another problem you should consider. It is generally recommended that you do not lean against or come close to, for a prolonged period of time a metal detector. Ask for alternative means of security checking instead. Another consideration is medical equipment. Anything that has a powerful electromagnetic energy may interfere with the pacemaker. If your doctor is suggesting some treatment like that, then inform him or her of your pacemaker so that they can act accordingly. A final consideration you should keep in mind is power-generating equipment. Be sure to maintain a two-foot distance at minimum from welding equipment, high-voltage transformers, or motor-generators. All of these things have the risk of affecting your pacemaker.
Pacemaker For Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial Fibrillation, or Afib, can result in poor blood flow throughout the body because of an irregular heartbeat. The cause of afib is an irregular heartbeat, hence, pacemakers are often used. For those trying to figure out how to treat afib, the pacemaker provides a tried-and-true method for regulating the heart rate. In addition, with an afib pacemaker you will see a reduction in symptoms like poor circulation throughout your body.
Risks Associated With A Pacemaker Procedure
Complications resulting from a pacemaker procedure can occur, though they are generally rare. One of the more concerning complications include the potential for a lung to collapse. Known as pneumothorax, this can sometimes happen if air is allowed to build up between the chest wall and your lung. This occurs roughly 1% to %5 of the time. In addition, there is a 1 in 1000 chance that serious problems may come up requiring additional surgery. However, for a surgery, the one in a thousand odds represent a high margin of safety.
In addition to complications occuring during the procedure, there is also the risk of problems after the procedure is complete. Some of these risks include bruising, pain, and bleeding right after the procedure. A lot of swelling in your arms can also be caused by a blood clot there. Despite the antibiotics, there is also a chance of an infection occuring. Generally speaking, an infection happens roughly 1% of the time. Finally, there is the risk that the device may develop a problem that requires fixing down the road. Again, the chances of this happening are roughly 1 in 100. There may also be a recall from the pacemaker company, requiring an additional surgery to remove and install a new pacemaker.
Should I Have A Pacemaker Procedure Done?
This is a question best left between you and your doctor. Every day, individuals have this conversation with their doctor, and walk through the various steps associated with it. As no one likes surgery, it is common sense to want to avoid it at all costs. So, if your doctor is not suggesting it, then you do not have to worry. However, if your doctor is suggesting that you have a pacemaker installed, then it would be wise to listen to the medical advice. Trained on the research and effectiveness of pacemakers, the doctor is making a weighted decision that will bring about the very best overall health in you. While surgery may take you off your feet for a little while, it will guarantee a more regular heart rate that will reduce symptoms like light-headedness, dizziness, and fainting. If you are experiencing these symptoms now, then you can understand how challenging it can be to live with them. With this minor surgery, you can help to eliminate the symptoms and create less stress in your body, resulting in improved health.
Every year, tens of thousands of individuals go in for a pacemaker procedure. With a high rate of success, the pacemaker has a solid record as being a reliable piece of technology requiring a minimally invasive surgery. With the right care and an experienced surgeon, the entire procedure will take only a few hours, with the recovery in the hospital lasting overnight. Compared to the uncertainty that comes with having an irregular heartbeat, many people will prefer the pacemaker procedure if it is afforded to them.