Various Types Pacemakers and Their Functions

ID-10083955A pacemaker is a small mechanical device that is placed under your skin of the chest wall to control heart beats for individuals with cardiovascular problem of irregular heartbeats known as arrhythmias (where heart beat rhythm is not under control). It has two parts a generator (that generate electricity to run pacemaker and control heart beats) and leads/electrodes. Arrhythmia may develop as a result of normal aging of heart or it may occur after a heart attack, when heart muscles are damaged causing irregular heartbeats. Basically a pacemaker increase heartbeat to normal when it is too slow or reduce heartbeats to normal when it is too fast. Additionally most pacemakers also have sensors that detect breathing and body motion and send the signal. Pacemaker is implanted in your chest wall after a minor surgical procedure.

Pacemakers can be,

  • Single chamber pacemaker: single chamber pacemaker generate and carries electrical impulse (as heartbeat) to right ventricle.
  • Dual chamber pacemaker: a dual chamber pacemaker carries electrical impulse to both right atrium and right ventricle.
  • Biventricular pacemaker: this type of pacemaker caries electrical impulse to both right and left ventricles of heart. Biventricular pacemaker is ideal for patients with heart failure where there is damage to electrical system of heart. As a result of carrying electrical impulse to both ventricles, they both pump blood together and this makes heart more efficient in pumping blood.

What a pacemaker actually does?

A pacemaker (artificial) mimics the natural pacemaker of heart (situated at SA node of heart). A pacemaker have a generator and electrodes. The generator contains a battery and an electrical circuit that controls the rate of electrical pulses that are sent to heart via electrodes and controls heartbeats. Electrodes or leads carries the electrical impulse/pulse generated by generator to heart chamber(s) and they run from generator to heart chamber(s).

Why pacemakers are needed?

Pacemaker can be implanted for short time (temporary) or it can be implanted permanently, depending on the medical condition that necessitate pacemaker implantation. Pacemakers help to control heart beat (make it regular) if you have irregular heartbeat for any reason, such as arrhythmia (bradycardia or slow heart rate, tachycardia or fast/rapid heart rate) that can occur after heart attack, heart failure, medication overdose of certain medication or after certain surgeries, especially heart surgery. For managing medication overdose, and certain surgeries, it can be temporary and in most other cases the pacemaker implanted is generally for long duration or permanent.

Pacemaker vary in size. Currently a pill size pacemaker is undergoing clinical trials and results are awaited. This pill size pacemaker is leadless (no electrodes, unlike regular commonly used pacemakers) and to be implanted directly in the heart. It emits electrical impulse in the heart and controls heart rate. This pill size pacemaker device can reduce certain risks associated with regular pacemaker, such as risk of infection at implanted site and faster recovery.


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