Pacemakers and testing thereof

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Regular tests of cardiac pacemaker is essential for the safety and improvement of the quality of life of the patient with a pacemaker.

Testing of pacemakers is performed with four different devices, since every manufacturer of pacemakers has developed their own diagnostic device, which cannot be used to test pacemakers made by other manufacturers. These tests may be performed at our clinic on an outpatient basis, since this is a minor procedure that lasts for approximately 30 minutes.

Permanent pacemaker is a complex electronic device that consists of an energy source, a microprocessor and an electric impulse generation system. All this content is situated in a miniature titanium case, which has a neutral effect on human tissue. This device is connected with electrodes (special wires) that are inserted directly into the cavity of the heart (atrium or ventricle) via the veins and serve as the eyes and hands of the pacemaker. The pacemaker receives information on heart function via these electrodes and transmits impulses to the muscles of the heart.

This system does not require the pacemaker, namely, the brain of the device, to be located exactly in the heart. It is usually implanted under the pectoris major muscle (most commonly – on the left side to enable the user to freely work or perform other manipulations with their right arm).

When the heart function fails, in many cases it can be adjusted by means of the pacemaker. Cardiologist decides, whether the patient needs this tiny device. Many people hope that this device will eliminate arrhythmias, but the device only ensures the absence of pauses in the activity of the heart and enables the patient to take certain medicines that usually slow down the heart rate. Defibrillators are implanted to patients, who have had exceptionally severe heart rhythm disorders. Defibrillators act not only as pacemakers, but also, if required, provide an electric shock, thus saving patients’ lives.

Pacemakers enable people to have a fully fledged life

The implantation procedure is comparatively simple. A small incision in the left side of the thorax is made under local anaesthesia, the implant is inserted under the skin and special electrodes are attached by puncturing the blood vessel. The battery occupies the largest part of the pacemaker, while its most important element is the microchip with software that ensures its functions.

The location of the device implantation is not determined by the location of the heart on the left side. It is usually implanted on the left, because people predominantly load their right arm, which could damage the pacemaker during intensive physical activity.

Initially, after the implantation of a pacemaker, the patient must visit the cardiologist every two years, despite the absence of any complaints; later the visits must occur once per year.

Pacemaker testing