Heart problems are severe, primarily when they affect the electrical system. Certain irregular heart rhythms can lead to dangerous health problems, which is where a pacemaker can help.
A pacemaker is a medical device that doctors use to control the electrical system in the heart to stabilize the heart rhythm and prevent severe complications.
Many people with cardiac issues are candidates for a permanent pacemaker when other measures haven't worked to resolve cardiac problems.
If you're experiencing heart problems, the Heart Clinic of Hammond team can help you identify the problem and provide customized treatments, including a pacemaker.
Pacemakers are electrical devices that doctors place surgically to control the electrical system in the heart. The pacemaker comprises several parts — leads, electrodes, and a pulse generator.
The pulse generator is the battery that sends the electrical impulses through the leads to the heart muscle to regulate electrical activity. The pulse generator also contains circuits and a tiny computer that fuels the system.
The leads attach to the pulse generator at one end, while doctors place the other end inside the heart in one of the chambers. They're insulated wires that relay the pulse generator's impulses to the heart.
At the end of each lead is an electrode, which we attach to the heart wall. The electrode ensures that the impulse reaches the heart so it can correct the irregularity in the rhythm.
We program the pulse generator with specific limits before inserting it into the body. When the pulse generator senses the heartbeat outside of the lower limit, it sends impulses, or paces, the heart to a faster rate.
A pacemaker generally doesn't pace a faster-than-normal heartbeat; instead, it monitors the rate and only steps in if necessary. Most pacemakers are on-demand, meaning they only come on when necessary and don't interfere with the normal heartbeat.
A pacemaker is a relatively big procedure but is an excellent option for some people to control the heart when other options haven't worked. Some of the issues a pacemaker can help with include the following:
An arrhythmia is a problem with the way your heart beats. It may beat too slow, fast, or irregularly, affecting how your body receives oxygenated blood.
Heart failure is a problem where the heart muscle isn't pumping blood efficiently to the body, causing it to back up into the heart and lungs. The fluid then builds up, causing swelling and shortness of breath.
The electrical signal in the heart is essential to the ability of the muscle to pump blood throughout the body. If something blocks the electrical signal, a heart block happens, resulting in skipped or missed beats and inadequate blood flow.
If you've had a heart attack related to the heart's electrical system, we may also suggest a pacemaker to detect any irregularities that could result in another heart attack.
Anyone with a chronic arrhythmia like bradycardia, where your heart beats too slowly, can benefit from a pacemaker. A pacemaker may also be an option if you live with heart failure.
However, it's not usually the first option for treatment because it's an invasive procedure. Our team typically tries less invasive treatments first, including medications, to treat the problem.
But if medications or other noninvasive procedures can't fix the problem, we may recommend a permanent pacemaker to regulate the electrical system in the heart.
There are some signs you should be aware of which can signal a problem with the heart. Signs that you may need a permanent pacemaker include the following:
These symptoms are related to either heart arrhythmias, heart failure, or other electrical problems within the heart. These issues are dangerous, and a pacemaker helps reduce the chances of a cardiac event that could be life-threatening.
Experiencing any of the above symptoms could signal that it's time for you to consider getting a pacemaker. We evaluate your heart health to determine if a pacemaker is the best option for your needs.
To schedule a consultation to discuss a pacemaker insertion, don't hesitate to call us today at 985-974-9278 or request an online consultation at our Hammond or Amite, Louisiana, office.