If you are one of the millions of people who have a pacemaker, also referred to as a mechanical heart, then you may be wondering how long it will last. While life expectancy varies from person to person, some general guidelines help you understand what to expect. This blog post will explore the average lifespan of a pacemaker and what factors may affect its durability. We will also discuss some common problems with these mechanical hearts and what to do if they arise. So, whether you are just starting to think about getting a mechanical heart or have been living with one for years, this post is for you!
The “Life” Of A Pacemaker
The idea of a pacemaker may conjure up images of the robot from “I, Robot,” but what exactly is it? A pacemaker can be best described as an implantable medical device that monitors your heart rate and performs functions such as delivering mild electric shocks to regulate abnormal heart rhythms or delivering timed medication in the case of a malfunctioning heart. Indeed, these devices are beneficial devices that have saved lives by restoring people’s normal heartbeats.
Interestingly, the first modern pacer was developed not too long ago – in 1958! This early version delivered electrical shocks manually via an electric switch on the device. This was the first of its kind, but pacemakers have evolved to become smaller over time. More importantly, they are now fully automatic and can take care of themselves so that you don’t have to worry about the device after installing it.
The average lifespan of a pacemaker varies from one person to the next and depends on the type of pacer. Most standard pacemakers can last anywhere from 5-10 years, but it is recommended that people with pacemakers get replacements every 7-10 years anyway. Several factors can affect a pacemaker’s life expectancy:
How Well The Patient Follows The Doctor’s Instructions
As with other medical devices, following the doctor’s instructions is essential for ensuring that your pacer will last as long as possible. However, suppose you are incredibly active or frequently travel to remote locations.
The Type Of Pacemaker Installed
Until recently, most pacemakers could only regulate the heart’s rhythm. However, newer pacemakers can also help control symptoms related to chronic heart failure (CHF). Since CHF can be a progressive disease, patients with this condition typically require more and more aggressive treatments over time. Thus, doctors may upgrade your device to one that performs additional functions accordingly. While there is no maximum lifespan for a pacemaker (they can last the rest of your life!), you will need periodic checkups and tests to ensure that your device is still working well and that your heart is in good condition.
What Are The Main Problems With Pacemakers?
While pacemakers are typically very durable, several problems can affect them over time:
· Infection – If you or the person who implanted it fails to take proper care of the pacemaker, then you may develop an infection around it. This can cause tailoring and lead to several other problems.
· Lead – The leads attached to your pacemaker are essentially long wires that connect to the heart from the device itself. Sometimes, these leads can cause injuries or irritations that complicate matters.
· Battery Failure – Modern pacemakers typically use lithium-ion batteries, but these can malfunction or run down from time to time. If this is the case, your doctor may recommend a replacement procedure.
What Do I Do If My Pacemaker Has A Problem?
Typically, once you have a pacemaker installed, it will work without any issues for a long time. However, if you begin to experience symptoms such as those listed above, you should immediately take action.
Infections can be treated with antibiotics, and doctors typically try to avoid surgery unless necessary. Lead problems can also complicate matters because they may require additional surgery or lead upgrades to resolve. If you believe that your device is having battery problems, you should contact your doctor to ensure that it can be replaced at a reasonable cost.
How long does a pacemaker last? This is a question that many people have wondered about for years. While there are no guarantees, most standard pacemakers can last anywhere from 5-to 10 years — depending on the aforementioned factors. Main problems with pacemakers include infection, lead complications, and battery failure — but these are usually treatable. If you experience any of the symptoms above, you should contact a doctor immediately.
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Do you want to learn about pacemaker cells and a temporary pacemaker? Find out here: What are pacemaker cells – Essential details about a temporary pacemaker.