>A pacemaker is usually implanted in the body on the front of the chest, about 5cm below the middle of the collar bone. Faulty electrical signaling in the heart causes arrhythmias. A pacemaker uses low-energy electrical pulses to overcome this faulty electrical signaling.
•Speed up a slow heart rhythm.
•Help control an abnormal or fast heart rhythm.
•Make sure the ventricles contract normally if the atria are quivering instead of beating with a normal rhythm (a condition called atrial fibrillation).
•Coordinate the electrical signaling between the upper and lower chambers of the heart.
•Coordinate the electrical signaling between the ventricles. Pacemakers that do this are called cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices. CRT devices are used to treat heart failure.
•Prevent dangerous arrhythmias caused by a disorder called long QT syndrome.
Pacemakers also can monitor and record your heart’s electrical activity and heart rhythm. Newer pacemakers can monitor your blood temperature, breathing rate, and other factors and adjust your heart rate to changes in your activity.
Pacemakers can be temporary or permanent. Temporary pacemakers are used to treat temporary heartbeat problems, such as a slow heartbeat that’s caused by a heart attack, heart surgery, or an overdose of medicine.
Temporary pacemakers also are used during emergencies. They’re used until a permanent pacemaker can be implanted or until the temporary condition goes away. If you have a temporary pacemaker, you’ll stay in a hospital as long as the device is in place.Permanent pacemakers are used to control long-term heart rhythm problems. This article mainly discusses permanent pacemakers, unless stated otherwise.