Cardiac pacemakers are true all-rounders: they provide therapy for hearts that beat too slow, or too fast, have dangerous arrhythmias or heart failure
Todays pacemakers are very sophisticated and can help restore normal sinus rhythm in patients with various kinds of abnormal pacing rhythms: they support slow heart beat (bradycardia), as well as life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias (tachycardias, ventricular fibrillation). Some systems can also support patients that suffer from a weak heart (heart failure).
ardiac pacemaker systems consists of two parts: the implantable pulse generator which is implanted in the chest area under the skin. The size of the battery determines the overall size of the pacemaker can. Therefore, defibrillator-pacemaker-systems are larger than pacemaker-only-systems. The pacemaker can is connected to the heart via one or several electrodes, depending on pacemaker type. When battery replacement is required (after 3 to 20 years), usually only the can is exchanged, while the electrode remains untouched.
Pacemakers constantly monitor the patient’s own heart activity and only stimulate the heart in case of a disturbance. When and how the pacemaker becomes active is programmed by the cardiologist from a control device. Modern pacemaker systems that can transmit telemetric data can send information about disturbances, arrhythmias or other information (e.g. an imminent pulmonary edema) via mobile phone to the doctor or clinic. Pacemakers can detect whether a patient is resting, doing sports, etc. and can adjust the pacing frequency accordingly. Some systems can also detect bodily functions such as body temperature, breathing volume, etc.
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