What is a Pacemaker?
A pacemaker is a small self-contained metal box which holds a battery, circuitry, and wire electrodes. The electrodes are passed through the vein near your collar bone, and then into the heart. The pacemaker helps in controlling the beating of your heart by correcting abnormal heart rhythms such as arrhythmias, tachycardia, or bradycardia.
Procedure and Recovery Information for Cardiac Pacemakers:
Pacemakers are usually implanted into the upper chest area. This will leave you with a scar about 2 inches long. The procedure takes about one hour to perform. Typically, you will be fully recovered from this procedure in about 2 weeks. Your physician will provide you with specific guidelines for your recovery.
How long does the battery last in my pacemaker, and what happens when I need a new battery?
Depending on the type of pacemaker that you have, the battery can last from 5 to 10 years or more. When the battery gets close to the end of its useful life, it is time to have it replaced.
The procedure to replace the pacemaker battery is similar to when it was first implanted. However, you will typically not need to have the electrodes replaced. While you are under local anesthetic, the surgeon will remove the pacemaker through an incision and replace the entire self-contained metal box with a new one. The incision will be closed up, and it will take about a week or two before you can resume normal activity levels. Your physician will provide you with specific guidelines for your recovery.