A pacemaker is a treatment for dangerously slow heart beat. A slow heart rate or heart block can cause symptoms of weakness, confusion, dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath and death. Have a pacemaker implanted is a minor surgical procedure. It is performed with mild sedation and local anesthetic.
Pre procedure instructions:
Lab work will need to be completed several days prior to the procedure. Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before. Take all your medications the morning of the procedure with sips of water. No Coumadin for 3 days prior to procedure. You need someone to drive you home or make arrangements for transportation. Wear clothing that is easy to get on and off. Do not wear jewelry.
Post procedure instructions:
You may be able to be discharged that day from the hospital. Pain at the incision site is usually mild and transient and usually responds to Tylenol. You may be given a prescription for a mild pain reliever. You may not shower for 48 hours after the procedure and you need to keep it clean and dry. Avoid excessively extending the arm on the side to the pacer insertion for four weeks. Regular checks will be needed for your device at your pacer clinic.
What to expect:
An IV will be started for fluids and medications. A mild sedative will be given through the IV by an anesthesiologist. You will also have adhesive skin electrodes applied to the chest and then attached to a heart monitor. A 2-inch incision is made under the collarbone. The pacer wires are then inserted into a vein and advanced through that vein under fluoroscopic guidance into the heart. The other end of the pacer wire is then attached to the generator that is implanted under the skin at the incision site. The site is then sutured or surgical glue will be used to close the incision.