Pacemakers are electrical devices, like a minicomputer, which can detect your heartbeats and deliver small electricity shocks to make your heart beat when your own impulses skip or are too slow.
A pacemaker consists in a tiny device called a generator, some four centimeters in diameter and only a few millimeters thick, which contains a small electrical circuit and a battery that supplies the energy. One, two, or sometimes even three very fine cables, called electrode leads, are guided to the heart cavities. The electrodes can ‘sense’ or detect your heartbeats and transmit electrical shocks from the generator which stimulate the heart when it is needed.
To put a pacemaker in, a surgical intervention has to be carried out, usually under local anesthesia with the patient awake. The operation lasts one to two hours, but the duration will vary for each patient. As with any surgery, complications may occur, but these are rare.
- Single percutaneous puncture (Seldinger technique)
- Right/left subclavian vein
- By way of exception, the jugular
- Local anesthesia
- Once in awhile, general anesthesia