A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device that helps control an abnormal heart rhythm, which is sometimes called arrhythmia or dysrhythmia. Some pacemakers are permanent (internal) and are implanted under the skin of the chest or abdomen while others are temporary (external) This device uses electrical pulses to “pace” the heart or prompt it to beat at a normal rate, which can relieve common symptoms such as fatigue and fainting. Most pacemakers are designed to detect the amount of activity a patient is doing and adjust the heart rate appropriately.
Similarly, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are used to monitor heart rate and rhythm in people who have had a heart attack or are at high risk for sudden cardiac death. Once implanted in the chest, the ICD is programmed to detect abnormal electrical activity in the heart and deliver a potentially life-saving shock if a dangerous rhythm is detected. While pacemakers and ICDs are similar, pacemakers only pace the heart while ICDs can also deliver shock therapy.
The physicians of Oklahoma Heart Institute are experienced at pacemaker and ICD implantation and maintenance. Each device is carefully chosen to ensure its specific features are tailored to the patient’s needs. In fact, many of our patients have received the very first implants of their kind in the world, providing them with the latest and most advanced technology available. Oklahoma Heart Institute’s Dysrhythmia and Pacemaker Clinic provides regular follow-up evaluations and care to ensure the devices function normally.