When you have a heart condition that causes a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat, you may need a pacemaker to keep your heart going at a steady pace. At Northwest Houston Heart Center, A. Adnan Aslam, MD, FACC, FSCAI, and Roy Norman, DO, help patients overcome heart arrhythmias and return to a thriving life by implanting a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. To learn if you might need a pacemaker to maintain a normal heartbeat, call the office in Tomball, Cypress, Magnolia, or The Woodlands, Texas, or book an appointment online today.
A pacemaker is a small electronic device that monitors your heart’s electrical activity. When your heartbeat slows down, the pacemaker sends an electrical impulse into the heart to restore its normal rate and rhythm.
The device consists of a small generator and insulated wires (leads). Your provider implants the pacemaker under the skin near your heart. They connect the leads to the generator, then run the wires through a large vein and into one or more heart chambers.
An electrode at the end of the wire touches the heart’s wall, allowing it to sense the heart’s electrical activity. The lead sends the information to the generator, and the generator responds with an electrical impulse when needed.
Northwest Houston Heart Center may recommend a pacemaker when you have a slow heartbeat (bradycardia) or an irregular heartbeat. Atrial fibrillation, which causes a chaotic heartbeat, is one of the most common arrhythmias treated with a pacemaker.
Some patients may need a pacemaker when their heart can’t pump enough blood. This problem may occur if you have enlarged heart muscles (cardiomyopathy) or congestive heart failure. You may also need a pacemaker after a heart attack.
Pacemakers differ in the number of leads they contain and the placement of the leads in your heart. The location of the leads depends on the type of heart arrhythmia.
There are three types of pacemakers:
This type has one wire that goes in the upper or lower chamber on the right side of your heart.
A dual-chamber device has two leads that your provider places in the upper and lower chambers on the right side of your heart.
The primary use of biventricular pacemakers is for congestive heart failure. They have three wires that go in the upper right chamber and the right and left lower chambers.
An ICD resembles a pacemaker, with a generator, leads, and an electrode for each lead. The implantation of the device is the same as a pacemaker.
However, by design, an ICD sends an electrical shock when your heart beats too rapidly or stops beating. Some types of ICDs have a dual purpose and also work as a pacemaker.
Northwest Houston Heart Center uses ICDs for patients with arrhythmias that cause a dangerously fast heartbeat and can result in sudden cardiac arrest. A few examples include ventricular fibrillation, long QT syndrome, and ventricular tachycardia.
To learn more about pacemakers and ICDs or to schedule an appointment, call Northwest Houston Heart Center, or use the online booking feature today.