Heart Fully Dependent On Pacemaker....

Question

Asked by OROMANELLI

Heart Fully Dependent On Pacemaker....

RECENT COMMENT WITH NO FURTHER EXPLANATION. COULD SOMEBODY EXPLAIN IN DETAILS THE CONDITION AND WHAT TO EXPECT IN CASE OF PACEMAKER.S FAILURE OR MALFUNCTION ?

i AM 82 YEARS OLD, VERY HEALTHY AND ACTIVE

Answer

OROMANELLI,

Thanks for your question.

Chances are your pacemaker was inserted because your heart beat was too slow, or there were pauses in your heart rhythm. In some cases, the heart beat is so slow, that patients become dizzy and even lose consciousness. Now that the pacemaker is operational, every beat the heart makes is being initiated by the mechanical pacemaker. This means that the pacemaker is set for a specific heart beat rate, for example 60 beats per minute. If your pulse falls below this level, the pacemaker senses this and an small electrical impulse is generated and stimulates the heart to beat. If most, if not all, of the beats seen on a monitor or electrocardiogram are pacemaker generated (called paced beats), we say the person is 100 % paced, and you are fully dependant on the pacemaker.

When pacemaker batteries run down, they do this very, very slowly. It is always picked up during your routine monitoring of your pacemaker which is usually done monthly by telephone. You have several more months before the rate falls significantly. When this occurs, you may be told that the pacemaker has reached "end of life". Do not be alarmed. The generator will need replacement while keeping the wires to your heart in place. Newer pacers last about 7 years, but this could vary to as low as 5 and as long as 9 years.

Pacemakers can fail in ways other than loss of battery power, but it is unusual. Should you feel any symptoms of dizziness, fatigue, palpitations, let your doctor know so he can check the pacer's function.

Of all the problems that can occur with the heart, this is simplest, least dangerous, and easily fixed.

I hope this has been helpful. Best wishes.

Martin Cane, M.D.