Pacemaker Implantation

Lightweight Implantable Device to Maintain Regular Heart Rhythm

Pacemaker implantation is one of the many ways highly skilled doctors at Loyola Medicine can treat your heart arrhythmia
 
In a healthy heart, the SA node (sinoatrial node) generates electrical impulses at regular intervals, which causes the heart to contract and pump blood to other parts of the body.  Factors such as an aging heart and heart disease can compromise this natural process causing heart block, which is the inability of the impulses generated by the SA node to reach the pumping chambers of your heart. These conditions lead to bradycardia, leaving the heart unable to pump blood efficiently to your brain and body. 
 
In order to regulate your heart rhythm, doctors at Loyola may recommend a pacemaker, which is a small, lightweight device implanted just beneath your collarbone to pace your heart.  A pacemaker connects your atria (upper chambers of your heart) to a computer that monitors your heart’s underlying rhythm and delivers an electrical signal to your heart to maintain a normal rhythm. 

Why Choose Loyola for Pacemaker Implantation?

Loyola serves as a major regional and national referral center for the treatment of heart rhythm disorders, offering treatment options often unavailable elsewhere. Loyola's team of expert cardiac electrophysiologists, advanced practice nurses, pacemaker clinic nursing staff, imaging experts and other professionals works together to manage the diagnosis and treatment of heart arrhythmias. 

We offer expertise in cardiac device management, including device implantation, lead extractions and medical management. Our state-of-the-art equipment allows doctors to use leading-edge technologies to perform procedures.

What to Expect with Pacemaker Implantation

Pacemaker surgery is most often a minor surgery performed in Loyola’s electrophysiology procedure room. There are two primary approaches to pacemaker implantation:

  • Endocardial — The most common method of pacemaker implantation. It is done with a local anesthetic and an incision is made in your chest where the leads and pacemaker are inserted. The lead is inserted into a vein and then guided to your heart.
     
  • Epicardial — This approach is less common in adults, but more common in children.  It is done with general anesthesia and your surgeon attaches the lead to your heart muscle.

Your doctor with work with you to determine the implant method that is best for your specific case. Pacemaker surgery may be recommended if you experience heart arrhythmia. It may also be used to treat fainting spells and congestive heart failure.
 
Following implantation, you will receive instruction from expert nurses in Loyola’s pacemaker clinic. The pacemaker clinic staff will work with your cardiologist to monitor your device several times throughout the year. A programmer is used to gather key information from the pacemaker and to adjust its settings as needed.

Pacemaker Implantation Risks

Pacemaker implantation is considered to be a very safe. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are risks, which may include:

  • Allergic reaction to the pacemaker materials
  • Damage to blood vessels or nerves near the pacemaker
  • Infection at the site of implantation