Biventricular Pacemaker advice

Why do I need a biventricular pacemaker?

Sometimes patients who have long standing heart disease or a family history of particular types of heart disease can have a weak heart which doesn’t pump blood efficiently. Some of these patients may benefit from a biventricular pacemaker, which works to resynchronise the heart making it work more effectively.

However not all patients have all their symptoms (shortness of breath, fatigue, ankle swelling) removed by these devices – everyone reacts differently to the treatment and this is something you should discuss with your cardiology doctor.

What are the risks of having a biventricular pacemaker?

Risks include: Haematoma 1-2% (a collection of blood under the skin), Pneumothorax 0.5% (air trapped next to the lung), infection1%, lead dislodgment 5%.

Can I choose if which side it goes on?

Usually pacemakers and biventricular pacemakers are inserted on the left side of the chest below the collar bone as most people are right handed. If you are left handed inform the doctor or staff in the pacemaker laboratory.

Some patients may have pacemakers fitted alongside having heart surgery, in this case the pacemaker is implanted in the abdominal region and the leads attached on the outside of the heart.

What are the other options to having a biventricular pacemaker?

While medications play a vital role in controlling the symptoms and progression of the disease some patients require a biventricular pacemaker to make the heart beat much more effectively.

Who will implant my biventricular pacemaker?

Your pacemaker may be inserted by your cardiology consultant and their cardiology registrar with excellent experience of inserted pacemakers.

Who will implant my biventricular pacemaker?

Either your cardiology consultant or their cardiology registrar with excellent experience of inserted pacemakers may insert your pacemaker. If the registrar inserts the pacemaker their consultant will be present at all times.

How long will my biventricular pacemaker implant take?

Typically pacemaker implants take around 1 hour but individual anatomy can make it more difficult sometimes to feed the lead(s) to your heart. Your doctor will let you know if it is taking longer than expect to keep you at ease. If you are uncomfortable inform the doctor or pacemaker team and sedation and pain relief may be able to be given.

How long will the biventricular pacemaker last?

Pacemakers last around 5 -8 years depending on what settings are on the pacemaker and how much you use it.

When the battery is found to be low you will be listed for a new pacemaker which is done in a similar way to your first pacemaker but uses the existing leads in your heart.