Manage Irregular Heartbeats with Pacemaker Implantation Surgery at Houston Physicians’ Hospital
According to the American Heart Association, more than four million Americans suffer from arrhythmia—this includes tachycardia (an extremely fast heartbeat) and bradycardia (an extremely slow heartbeat). And research further indicates that up to three million Americans have an implantable pacemaker—over 70% of these patients are over the age of 65.
A pacemaker is a small electrically charged device that’s placed under the skin to regulate a patient’s irregular heartbeats. Modern pacemakers have two parts—the pulse generator and the wires (leads). The two components work harmoniously to produce electrical impulses that control the heartbeat.
While most pacemakers are surgically inserted inside the body, some temporary alternatives may be externally attached.
Why Would I Need a Pacemaker?
Patients who suffer from tachycardia and bradycardia require a pacemaker to regulate their heartbeat. An irregular heartbeat may cause heart palpitations, blood clots, and heart attacks—among other cardiovascular conditions. Depending on the severity, this necessitates timely and effective management through pacemaker implantation surgery.
Pacemakers also track and record a person’s heartbeat, which helps cardiologists closely examine and monitor their condition. People suffering from arrhythmia commonly exhibit the following signs and symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Fluttering in the chest
- Mild to severe chest pain
Types of Pacemakers
A patient may require a certain type of pacemaker depending on the severity and classification of their condition, medical history, lifestyle, and age.
Common types of pacemakers include:
- Single-chamber pacemakers
- Dual-chamber pacemakers
- Biventricular pacemakers
How Should I Prepare for Pacemaker Implantation Surgery?
Prior to pacemaker implantation surgery, the cardiologist will prescribe a set of tests to determine the extent and type of arrhythmia. The tests also determine the cause of the irregular heartbeat.
Depending on your condition, you may be required to undergo the following tests:
- Holter monitoring
- Stress test
Each test noninvasively assesses chest activity—including the heart’s electrical impulses. Pacemaker tests are extremely useful in effectively detecting and diagnosing irregularities with patients who show no signs and symptoms. This helps cardiologists determine the best course of action and allows them to prepare pacemaker implantation surgery based upon the patient’s particular condition.
To prepare for the insertion operation, follow your cardiologist’s instructions which may include stopping any current medication you may be taking. In addition, you may be prescribed certain medications to take prior to the procedure. Always ask your doctor and cardiologist before stopping or starting any medications.
The surgery typically takes a few hours. Your chest will be cleaned using a specific solution, and the area will be numbed using local anesthesia.
Outcome of Pacemaker Surgery
Pacemaker implantation surgery alleviates the signs and symptoms of arrhythmia which helps patients regain their energy levels and feel more restful. We recommend avoiding vigorous exercise, lifting, and strenuous chores post-treatment. Your doctor will monitor the pacemaker’s programming and request follow-up appointments to make sure the pacemaker is working properly and to monitor improvements in your condition.
A pacemaker battery generally lasts up to 15 years. If your battery drains prematurely, you may be required to undergo additional surgery.
Pacemaker Implantation Surgery at Houston Physicians’ Hospital
Our team of cardiologists has extensive training and years of medical insight in detecting, diagnosing, and treating tachycardia and bradycardia through pacemaker implantation surgery. By leveraging cutting-edge technology and years of experience, they treat each patient individually from diagnosis and surgery through follow-up care.
Each diagnosis is subjective, focusing on the patient’s medical history and lifestyle. This ensures that doctors recommend the ideal pacemaker that fits the patient’s condition and lifestyle.
While most patients commonly require single chamber pacemakers and dual-chamber pacemakers, severe cases indicating heart failure may necessitate biventricular pacemaker installation.
A biventricular pacemaker, while not as commonly used, helps each side of the heartbeat in sync. This process is commonly known as cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). Your doctor will be able to make a more accurate recommendation after a thorough examination and diagnosis.
If you’re experiencing shortness of breath and restlessness and think that you may want to discuss your options with one of our cardiologists at the Heart and Vascular Solutions Center at Houston Physician’s Hospital, you’ll find a list of qualified physicians below. Simply choose a doctor and make your appointment directly with his or her office.
We serve patients across Southeast Texas—including South Houston, Clear Lake, Webster, League City, and Galveston, as well as neighboring cities and towns.