Pacemaker

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A pacemaker (or artificial pacemaker, so as not to be confused with the heart's natural pacemaker) is a medical device which uses electrical impulses, delivered by electrodes contacting the heart muscles, to regulate the beating of the heart. The primary purpose of a pacemaker is to maintain an adequate heart rate, either because the heart's native pacemaker is not fast enough, or there is a block in the heart's electrical conduction system. Modern pacemakers are externally programmable and allow the cardiologist to select the optimum pacing modes for individual patients. Some combine a pacemaker and defibrillator in a single implantable device. Others have multiple electrodes stimulating differing positions within the heart to improve synchronisation of the lower chambers of the heart. A pacemaker is typically inserted into the patient through a simple surgery using a local anesthetic. The patient is usually given a drug for relaxation, and an antibiotic to prevent infection. An incision is made in the left shoulder area below the collar bone where the pacemaker is actually housed in the patient's body. The lead or leads (the number of leads varies depending on the type of pacemaker) are fed into the heart through a large vein using a fluoroscope to monitor the progress of lead insertion. A temporary drain may be installed and removed the following day. The actual surgery may take about an hour. The patient should exercise reasonable care about the wound as it heals. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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