Pacemaker advice

Why do I need a pacemaker?

To function normally the heart has an electrical nerve system which tells the heart when to beat. If this system is weakened through age or heart disease the heart may not beat every time it is required. This can cause dizziness or faints/blackouts.

The pacemaker helps to regulate the heart rhythm, working the heart when the heart should beat but doesn’t, and should stop the faints / dizziness.

What are the risks of having a 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 1%.

Can I choose which side it goes on?

Usually 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 pacemaker?

For any symptom which has been shown to be caused by low heart rates or pauses in heart rates a pacemaker is the only option.

Who will perform my angioplasty?

Your angiogram will be performed by your consultant cardiologists along with either a cardiology registrars or cardiology nurse to help in the procedure.

Who will implant my 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 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 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.