Thursday, May 28, 2015

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A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device that helps the heart beat regularly and at an appropriate rate.

Alternative Names

Artificial pacemaker; Permanent pacemaker; Internal pacemaker; Cardiac resynchronization therapy; CRT; Biventricular pacemaker


A pacemaker generally has two parts:

  • Generator - contains the battery and the information to control the heartbeat
  • Leads - wires used to connect the heart to the generator and send the electrical impulses to the heart to tell it to beat

Today's generators weigh a little less than an ounce (30 grams). The pacemaker's battery can last about 7 to 8 years. It will be regularly checked by your doctor, and replaced when necessary.

Traditional pacemakers help control the right side of the heart to control the heart beat. This is called AV synchronization. A special type of pacemaker, called a biventricular pacemaker, works on both sides of the heart,. It synchronizes the right and left chambers (ventricles) of the heart and keeps them pumping together. This is called cardiac resynchronization therapy. All of today's biventricular pacemakers can also work as an implantable cardio-defibrillator (ICD).


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Review Date: 07/17/2006
Reviewed By: Glenn Gandelman, MD, MPH, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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