Is a Pacemaker the Right Choice For Me?

Apr 17 • 2015

If you have a slow heartbeat or experience pauses between heartbeats, a pacemaker might be the right choice for you. A pacemaker is a small electrical device that helps control the timing of your heartbeat. It is implanted under the skin with a wire that passes through a vein into your heart. Mild electrical pulses are sent from the pacemaker to keep your heart beating at a normal rate.

There are many circumstances that can damage the heart’s electrical system, resulting in a slower heartbeat. This includes:

  • Aging
  • Heart attack
  • Heart surgery
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart block
  • Atrial fibrillation

Additionally, if you are at high risk for having a slow heartbeat, a pacemaker can be used as a preventive measure.

While there are risks to getting a pacemaker, these vary for each person. Some activities can interrupt the signals that the pacemaker is sending to the heart, so you may have to change some of your daily habits to accommodate this. Speak with your doctor about any care instructions and precautions you should take if you are considering a pacemaker.

Remember that you can’t go by heart rate alone when determining if this is the right option for you. The baseline heart rate slows over time and your body adjusts to that. Look out for symptoms like fatigue, malaise, lightheadedness, and confusion. These can be symptoms of an aging heart, which can cause your heart rate to slow. If you are experiencing heartbeat pauses of three seconds or more, you should be evaluated for a heart rate monitor. Speak with your doctor about the screening options that can test for heartbeat pauses.

Are you experiencing any heart issues? See how Baptist Memorial Hospital can help here.