Pacemaker
Cardiovascular Health

Essential Details About A Temporary Pacemaker

If you’ve been told you need a temporary pacemaker or pacer, you may be feeling anxious or worried. You’re not alone. A temporary pacer is a device that helps your heartbeat regularly if it’s not doing so on its own. It’s usually used when surgery is planned to fix the problem that’s causing your irregular heartbeat. Temporary pacemakers are safe and effective, and they can help keep you healthy until your surgery is over. Here’s what you need to know about them.

What is a Temporary Pacemaker?

If you’ve been told you need a temporary pacemaker or pacer, you may be feeling anxious or worried. You’re not alone. A temporary pacer is a device that helps your heartbeat regularly if it’s not doing so on its own. It’s usually used when surgery is planned to fix the problem that’s causing your irregular heartbeat. Temporary pacemakers are safe and effective, and they can help keep you healthy until your surgery is over. Here’s what you need to know about them.

How does a normal heartbeat come about?

 

Your heart has two upper chambers, called atria. They are separated by a wall of tissue called the septum. The right atrium receives blood from various parts of your body and sends it to the right ventricle. The right ventricle pumps the blood through the pulmonary artery to the lungs, where carbon dioxide is released, and oxygen is picked up. The oxygen-rich blood then returns to the left atrium. It flows from the left atrium through a large vessel called the left ventricle to smaller vessels throughout your body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to all of your tissues and organs. As the muscles in the left ventricle contract, they pump blood to all parts of your body.

Unusual Heart Beat

When the heart’s electrical system malfunctions, it can cause an abnormal heartbeat. This is called an arrhythmia. It can cause the heart to beat too slowly (bradycardia), too rapidly (tachycardia), or erratically.

When your heart beats too slowly, you can get lightheaded or feel faint. When it beats too quickly, you may have palpitations, a racing heartbeat, or feel dizzy or faint. An abnormal heart rhythm can also cause chest pain or shortness of breath.

The electrical impulses that control the heart originate in a structure called the sinoatrial (SA) node. This particular group of cells within your heart acts as a natural pacemaker. It sends out electrical impulses that spread through your heart muscle and cause it to contract.

Epicardial pacemaker

Typically, the SA node sends out an electrical impulse 50-100 times each minute. With each contraction, the heart pumps 2-3 ounces of blood. If your heart rate is slower than usual, or if the electrical impulses from your SA node come too slowly or not at all, you’ll need a temporary pacemaker.

When might you need a temporary pacemaker?

Temporary pacing is often used with planned surgery to correct a variety of arrhythmias. Some of the conditions that may cause problems with your heart rhythm to include:

Heart attack – damage to the heart’s muscle during a heart attack can create a disturbance in your heartbeat.

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that can cause an abnormal heart rhythm.

Congenital heart defects – These are congenital disabilities that affect the heart’s structure, which can result in an abnormal heartbeat.

Cardiac surgery – Surgery to correct or replace a cardiac valve can cause an abnormal heart rhythm because of your heart’s electrical system changes.

Sometimes, a temporary pacemaker is placed in your chest so it can deliver an electrical impulse directly to the heart muscle. This is called a transvenous pacemaker.

Why might you need a temporary pacemaker?

A temporary pacer is usually used to keep your heart beating until your doctor can try different medications or procedures to correct the problem. If you have a transvenous pacemaker, it will remain in place for several days to a few weeks. If you have an epicardial pacemaker, it can be left in place for as long as needed.

How is a temporary pacer placed?

If you’re having surgery to correct an abnormal heart rhythm, your doctor may place the epicardial pacer simultaneously. This type of pacemaker is placed outside your heart during surgery. If you’re having other types of surgery, your doctor might place a temporary transvenous pacemaker during surgery.

A temporary epicardial pacemaker can be placed through a small incision just below your collarbone if you don’t need surgery. A temporary transvenous pacer is usually put in through a vein in your neck because it has to be threaded through a vein into your heart.

The temporary pacemaker is then attached to the leads that deliver electrical impulses to your heart. These are usually placed under your skin with bandages or stitches to hold them in place. If the pacemaker is left inside your body, the leads are usually attached to the outside of your chest and shoulder and covered with bandaging.

Your doctor will check how well your heart responds to the temporary pacemaker. If your heart is working well with the device, you may be able to go home in a few days or a week. However, if this isn’t the case, you’ll need to stay in the hospital for several more days or weeks.

How long is a temporary pacer used?

A temporary epicardial pacer is usually left in place for 4 to 6 days. A temporary transvenous pacer is typically used for 5 to 7 days if you don’t need surgery. If your doctor decides you no longer need the device, it’ll be removed at your next clinic visit.

There is a small risk that a temporary pacemaker or pacer can lead to infection. If you have a transvenous pacemaker, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics that you’ll need to take for several days or weeks. You’ll receive instructions on how to take the medication. If you have an epicardial pacemaker, your doctor will instruct you to clean the area around it with rubbing alcohol daily.

Can a temporary pacer be used with other devices?

Your doctor may also place an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) in your chest or abdomen. This is a device that can shock your heart back into a normal rhythm if it beats too fast or if the rhythm becomes too slow. Your ICD may work along with your temporary pacemaker to help control your heartbeat.

What are the risks of a temporary pacemaker?

A temporary pacemaker or pacer is a safe and effective treatment that can help keep your heart regularly beating until your doctor can fix the problem causing your irregular heartbeat. However, you may have a higher risk of infection with a transvenous pacemaker, so you’ll need to take precautions to keep the area around your pacemaker clean.

If you have an epicardial pacemaker, there’s a slight risk that it could cause bleeding, infection, or an irregular heart rhythm.

##Conclusion:

 

A temporary pacemaker or pacer is used to keep your heart regularly beating if it’s not doing so on its own. It’s usually used when surgery is planned to fix the problem that’s causing your irregular heartbeat. Temporary pacemakers are safe and effective, and they can help keep you healthy until your surgery is over. Then, your doctor will monitor how well your heart responds to the device, and if you’re doing well, they may be able to send you home within a few days or a week.

Make sure you understand how your temporary pacer works, the risks of having one, and the steps you need to take to keep it clean. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to ask your doctor. Do you want to learn more about pacemakers? Please explore here; What Are Pacemaker Cells and How Long Does a Temporary Pacemaker Last.

Thanks for reading!

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