A pacemaker is a device that sends small electrical impulses to the heart muscle to maintain a suitable heart rate or to stimulate the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). A pacemaker may also be used to treat fainting spells (syncope), congestive heart failure and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (is there a simpler term for this condition?).
Why do I need a pacemaker?
- If your heart’s electrical pathway is interrupted for any reason, changes in yourheart rate and rhythm occur that make a pacemaker necessary.
- Pacemakers are used to treat brady-arrythmias, slow heart rhythms that may occur as a result of disease in the heart’s conduction system (such as the SA node, AV node or His-Purkinje network – is this too technical for a patient??). Pacemakers are also used to treat syncope (unexplained fainting spells), heart failure, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (is there a simpler term for this condition?).
Is the procedure safe?
- A pacemaker implant is generally a very safe procedure. However, as with any invasive procedure, there are risks. Special precautions are taken to decrease your risks. Please discuss your specific concerns about the risks and benefits of the procedure with your provider.
Implantable Cardioverter/Defibrillator (ICD)
An ICD is an electronic device that constantly monitors your heart rhythm. When it detects a very fast, abnormal heart rhythm, it delivers energy to yourheart muscle. This causes yourheart to beat in a normal rhythm again.
Why is an ICD needed?
- An ICD may be needed if your heart is beating too fast and you have a life-threatening heart rhythm known as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. These conditions can be fatal if not treated immediately.Your doctor has recommended that you receive an ICD because you have had at least one episode of these heart rhythms or are at high risk of developing these types of heart rhythms.
Is the ICD implant procedure safe?
- A device implant is generally a safe procedure. However, as with any invasive procedure, there are risks. Special precautions are taken to decrease your risks. Please discuss your specific concerns about the risks and benefits of the procedure with your provider.
Where are the implant procedures performed?
- In most cases, the implant procedure takes place in the cardiovascular lab at Platte Valley Medical Center. In some cases, yourelectrophysiologist may determine a different location for the procedure. You will know the location of your procedure at the time of scheduling.
Before the Procedure
You will be contacted by the pre-operative nurse from Plate Valley Medical Center for routine blood work and instructions on remaining without food for 12 hours prior and which medications to hold. Please call ouroffice at with any further questions you may have.
How to prepare
- When getting ready, please do not wear makeup and remove all nail polish.
- Wear comfortable clothes when you come to the hospital. You will change into a hospital gown for the procedure.
- Please leave all jewelry (including wedding rings), watches, and valuables at home.
- The clothing you are wearing prior to your procedure will be returned to the person who accompanies you.
After the Procedure
- Your doctor will discuss the results of the procedure and answer any questions you have. Be sure to ask the doctor if you should continue taking your previous medications.
- You will receive specific instructions about how to care for yourself after the procedure, including medication guidelines, wound care, activity guidelines, device care and maintenance, and a follow-up schedule.
- You will receive a temporary ID card that tells you what type of device and leads (??? Define) you have, the device manufacturer, the date of the device implant, and the doctor’s name that implanted the device.
- Within 3 months, you will receive a permanent ID card from the device company. It is important to carry this card with you at all times in case you need medical attention.
- You will not be able to drive yourself home from the procedure. For your safety, a responsible adult must drive you home.
- Ask your provider when you can start driving again.
- A follow-up appointment to check your ICD will be scheduled within one (1) week after yourdevice implant procedure. This is to check the wound site and make your first device check appointment.
- The device check is performed in our office and takes about 15 to 30 minutes. A programmer will be placed over the device to retrieve device settings, measure battery voltage and collect information from the device about any fast heart rhythms and/or therapies you received.
- This first follow-up appointment is critical because adjustments will be made that will prolong the life of your device. This appointment is for a device check with the electrophysiology nurse. If you need to see your doctor for follow-up care, we encourage you to schedule a separate appointment.