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Pacemaker

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

A pacemaker is a small, battery-powered device that is implanted into your chest to help regulate your heart rate.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Before your pacemaker procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine.
  • Vital signs: Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your current health.
  • Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.
  • Medicines:
    • Local or monitored anesthesia: Anesthesia is medicine that keeps you from feeling pain during surgery or a procedure. Local anesthesia is a shot of numbing medicine put into the skin where you will have surgery. You will be fully awake during the surgery or procedure. You may feel pressure or pushing, but you will not feel pain. Monitored anesthesia means you will also be given medicine through an IV. This medicine keeps you comfortable, relaxed, and drowsy during the surgery or procedure.
    • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

During your pacemaker procedure:

Healthcare providers use monitors to check your heart, breathing, and blood pressure during the procedure. Your neck and chest will be cleaned and covered with sheets. An incision will be made in the skin over a large blood vessel in your neck or chest. The lead wires for the pacemaker will be guided through the blood vessel and attached to your heart. Another incision is made to place the pacemaker unit, usually just below your collarbone. The lead wires are then connected to the pacemaker unit. The incisions are closed with stitches and covered with sterile bandages.

After your pacemaker procedure:

You will be taken to a recovery area where healthcare providers watch you until you are alert. You will have monitors attached to you that check your heart, breathing, and blood pressure. Before you leave the hospital, your pacemaker will be programmed to your needs.

You may need extra oxygen

if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.

Heart monitor:

A heart monitor called telemetry will be used to monitor you while you are in the hospital. The telemetry device is a small, battery-powered unit connected to sticky patches on your chest.

Activity:

You will be on bed rest or have limited activity after your pacemaker procedure. You may need to keep your arm in a sling for the first 24 hours after your procedure. This is done to limit the movement of your arm on the side where your incisions are. This will help prevent the pacemaker and leads from moving out of place.

Medicines:

  • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.
  • Antiarrhythmics: This medicine is given to make your heart beat at a regular rate and rhythm.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

RISKS:

You may have temporary bruising, pain, and swelling from the procedure. Infection could occur where the pacemaker is implanted. You may bleed more than usual or get blood clots. Blood clots can lead to a stroke. The leads could also poke a hole in your lung, heart, or blood vessel. The pacemaker itself may cause your heart to beat irregularly. Your pacemaker could fail to work properly.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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