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Pacing follow-up & implantation

Location

Cardiac catheter suite, level 1, Royal Derby Hospital
(the nearest entrance is the main entrance)

About

A pacemaker is a device that is used if you have a problem with your heart rhythm. It uses electrical pulses to make your heart beat regularly and on time. The pulse it generates is sent through special leads, which are placed inside the heart.

The pacemaker is placed in the upper chest during a minor operation under a local anaesthetic.

You will lie on you back throughout the operation. You will be connected to an electrocardiogram (ECG), which will monitor your heart rhythm during the procedure. You may be offered sedative medication before the procedure to help you relax.

Pacemakers are inserted through a small cut under your collarbone.  The leads are correctly positioned using X-ray images. After the leads are secure, electrical measurements will be performed to ensure correct placement.

After the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery ward for observation. A technician will later visit you to give you specific instructions and make sure the pacemaker is working properly. In many cases, patients go home the same day. However, each patient is unique, and the surgery time will differ from person to person.

Pacemaker follow Up

After implantation of a pacemaker you will be required to attend for pacemaker checks in the pacemaker clinic. Your pacemaker follow up will be carried out by cardiac physiologists. Checking the pacemaker at regular intervals is important to ensure all parts of the pacemaker are working properly.

The physiologists will check your scar. They will then check the pacemaker is functioning correctly and that the battery is adequately charged. If necessary, they will re-programme the pacemaker according to your state of health.

The first follow up is usually 1 week after your operation to check the wound and remove stitches if necessary. You are then seen every 1-2 months and then every 3-4 months post implant. If all checks are satisfactory at this appointment, you will then be seen annually.

The battery life of a pacemaker can vary significantly from person to person. However, in many cases the pacemaker battery will need to be changed after approximately 8-10 years depending on usage. This will require another minor operation.