A pacemaker is a battery-powered device that sends electrical signals to your heart to help it beat at a proper rate or “pace”. The pacemaker is surgically placed under your skin, beneath your collarbone, and is connected to your heart by one or more wires, or leads. A single chamber pacemaker has one lead placed within the lower chamber, or ventricle, of the heart.
Pacemakers are used to treat bradycardia and atrial fibrillation associated with bradycardia. Bradycardia is an abnormally slow heartbeat defined by 60 or less beats per minute. Bradycardia may result when electrical signals are not produced at a fast enough pace by the SA node, or when these signals do not reach the ventricles. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat in which abnormal electrical signals originate in the upper chambers of the heart, or atria. Atrial fibrillation may cause the rhythm of the lower chambers to slow down, resulting in bradycardia.
The pacemaker delivers regulated electric signals to the heart muscle to restore a normal heartbeat rate.
Visit Heart Rhythm Society for more information.