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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.

What is a pacemaker?

A pacemaker is a small device placed in your chest to help control your heartbeat. You may need a pacemaker if your heartbeat is too slow, too fast, or irregular. A pacemaker is about the size of a large wristwatch. It contains flexible wires (leads) with sensors, a battery, pulse generator, and a small computer. The sensors measure your heartbeat and send the information to the computer. The computer causes the generator to send electrical impulses to your heart. This makes your heart beat correctly. Some pacemakers can also record your heart rate and rhythm.


How do I prepare for a pacemaker insertion?

What will happen during a pacemaker insertion?

What should I expect after a pacemaker insertion?

What are the risks of a pacemaker insertion?

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. The pacemaker could move out of place and cause pain and bleeding. The leads may cause a hole in your lung, heart, or blood vessel. Your pacemaker may stop working correctly. This can cause an irregular heartbeat, heart failure, blood clots, or other problems. These problems may become life-threatening.

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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.