Pacemakers and ICDs
By: Kelsey Morgan and Caylan Oliver
What are pacemakers and ICDs
- The pacemaker helps control abnormal heart rhythms by pumping electrical pulses to help the heart beat at a normal rate.
- If the ICD detects an irregular rhythm, it sends low-energy electrical pulses to prompt your heart to beat at a normal rate. If the low-energy pulses restore your heart's normal rhythm, you might avoid the high-energy pulses or shocks of the defibrillator (which can be painful).
Who is most likely to get it?
- Doctors recommend pacemakers for many reasons. The most common reason is heart block. Heart block can happen as a result of aging.
- Fewer than one in ten older patients with low ejection fractions received ICDs within a year after myocardial infarction. ( The ejection fractions refers to the amount, or percentage, of blood that is pumped (or ejected) out of the ventricles with each contraction.)
Your doctor may recommend an ICD if you or your child is at risk of a life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia because of having:
- Had a ventricular arrhythmia
- Had a heart attack
- Survived a sudden cardiac arrest
- A congenital heart disease or other underlying conditions for sudden cardiac arrest.
How is it diagnosed?
Pacemakers are recommended by your doctor if:
- Aging or heart disease damages your sinus node's ability to set the correct pace for your heartbeat.
- You've had a medical procedure to treat an arrhythmia
- You faint or have other symptoms of a slow heartbeat.
- You have heart muscle problems that cause electrical signals to travel too slowly through your heart muscle.
- You have long QT syndrome which puts you at risk for dangerous arrhythmias.
Getting a pacemaker or ICD requires minor surgery. You usually need to stay in the hospital for a day or two, so your doctor can make sure that the device is working well. You will probably be back to your normal activities within a few days
How are they implanted?
This shows where the Pacemaker is placed the the wires that lead up to the heart.
This shows the implantable cardioverter defibrillator with and how the wires lead up to the heart.