Pacemaker Surgery

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Pacemaker Surgery

Pacemakers are sometimes recommended for people with conditions that cause the heart to beat abnormally.

A pacemaker is a small electrical device (about the size of a matchbox or smaller that weighs 20 to 50g) that sends electrical pulses to your heart to keep it beating regularly and not too slowly. 


It consists of a pulse generator, which has a battery and a tiny computer circuit, and 1 or more wires known as pacing leads, which attach to your heart. The pulse generator emits electrical impulses through the wires to your heart. The rate at which the electrical impulses are sent out is called the pacing rate.


There are several different types of pacemakers.

The main types are:

  • Single-chamber pacemaker – this has one wire, which is connected to either the right atrium (upper heart chamber) or right ventricle (lower heart chamber)
  • Dual-chamber pacemaker – this has two wires, which are connected to the right atrium and right ventricle
  • Biventricular pacemaker – this has three wires, which are connected to the right atrium, right ventricle and left ventricle


The type of pacemaker you need will depend on your specific heart problem.


How is a pacemaker fitted?


The pacemaker is surgically implanted in the chest. It is a relatively straightforward process and is usually carried out under local anaesthesia.


  • The generator is usually placed under the skin near the collarbone on the left side of the chest.
  • The generator is attached to a wire that’s guided through a blood vessel to the heart.


The procedure usually takes about an hour, and most people can discharge from the hospital on the same day or a day after surgery. You should be able to return to normal physical activities soon after surgery. 


Having a pacemaker implanted is usually a very safe procedure with a low risk of complications. As a precaution, it’s usually recommended that strenuous activities are avoided for around 4 to 6 weeks after having a pacemaker fitted.