Cardiac Pacemakers

The Arrhythmia Center at Missouri Baptist Medical Center provides treatment for arrhythmias including pacemaker implantation.

What is a Pacemaker?

A permanent pacemaker is a small device that is implanted under the skin (most often in the shoulder area just under the collar bone), and sends electrical signals to start or regulate a heartbeat. Pacemakers are typically used for slow arrhythmias such as sinus bradycardia, sick sinus syndrome, or heart block.

For more information on pacemakers or to schedule an appointment, call 314-996-3627 or contact us online.

How Does a Pacemaker Work?

A pacemaker performs the same action as the heart and consists of two parts, the pulse generator and leads (electrodes). The pulse generator monitors the rate of electrical pulses sent to the heart. If the heart is beating too fast, the pulse generator will send electric shocks to the heart to slow it down. Leads are placed in the chambers in the heart, and delivers the electrical shocks to return the heart rate to normal pace.

What to Expect During Pacemaker Surgery

During pacemaker surgery, the cardiac surgeon will make an incision in the chest and insert the pacemaker device and the electrode leads.

The leads are guided through the veins to the heart where the doctor will place them on the heart muscle. The leads are attached to the heart and the cardiologist will test their functioning through a process called “pacing.” During the pacing test, small electric shocks are delivered to the heart muscle causing the heart muscle to pump, contract or beat. After that, the doctor will attach the leads to the pulse generator and place the pacemaker into the chest through the incision site.

Before you return home, your pacemaker will be tested to ensure it’s working correctly.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist in St. Louis, call 314-996-3627 or contact us online.


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