Biventricular Pacemaker

Treating Cardiovascular Diseases in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois

A biventricular pacemaker is a special type of pacemaker used to treat heart failure caused when the lower chambers of the heart are not beating together, but with a slight delay between them.  This slight delay can cause problems because the heart is not beating efficiently.  The biventricular pacemaker has an extra lead that is put in through a vein so the right and left lower chambers can then be "resynchronized" to beat together. 

The pacemaker is programmed to fix the delay between the chambers and restore better function to the heart.  In many people who have this delay between the chambers, this can relieve some of the symptoms of heart failure, such as tiredness and shortness of breath.  Some people may require a defibrillator to treat abnormally fast heart rates.  Some pacemakers have defibrillators built in to the device. Your doctor will determine if this is necessary.

Our doctors also discuss the risks, side effects, and complications with our patients before the procedure.  Some people may not have their symptoms relieved by the special pacemaker.

How to Prepare for a Biventricular Pacemaker Procedure

To prepare for this procedure your doctor will have you stop eating or drinking, usually the night before your procedure.  Your doctor will also give you instructions on what medications to stop taking and what medications to take the day of your procedure.  Your doctor will also give you instructions to wash your chest with a special soap before the procedure to help prevent infection. 

Patients usually arrive several hours before the procedure so that laboratory tests, IV's, history, medication review and final skin wash can be completed prior to your procedure.  An antibiotic will be given before the start of your procedure to also help prevent infection.

What to Expect During a Biventricular Pacemaker Procedure

The procedure room is cool and full of equipment.  The table is narrow and the staff will assist you into a comfortable position on the table.  The staff will explain all the preparations as they get you ready for the procedure.  A representative from the company who makes the device is also present in the room during the procedure to assist the physician. 

The staff will put some cold soap with an alcohol smell on your chest and neck.  This will get your skin as clean as possible for the procedure.  The soap has a tint to it that will wash off after the procedure.

The length of the procedure will vary depending on your particular needs. but most procedures take 2-4 hours.  Most procedures are done with sedation to keep you comfortable, so you may sleep through the procedure, or you may be awake but very relaxed or drowsy.  During parts of the procedure, you may feel some pushing on your shoulder, but very little pain.

Recovery after the Biventricular Pacemaker Procedure

You will be awake and talking before you leave the procedure room.  You may have a special sling placed after the procedure to remind you about activity restrictions on your arm located on the same side as your pacemaker.  The doctor or associate will remove the dressing the next day.  You will have some strips over the incision site that will fall off over time.  Please follow instructions for your incision care.

Most people can go home the day after the procedure.  You may want to take a few days off of work after the procedure to allow your body to heal.  You will have some special instructions on moving your arm on the same side as the pacemaker to assist in a safe recovery period.  After your recovery period, you can resume all normal activity.  Your doctor will make specific recommendations based on your situation. 

Most patients are a little sore after the procedure and this will gradually go away over the next few days.  Your doctor will give you some mild pain medication to reduce the soreness and will give you instructions on medications to continue or stop after your procedure.

You will need someone to drive you home from the hospital and to stay with you for a couple of days just in case of any problems.  Your doctor will also instruct you on any driving restrictions after your recovery.

It is very important to keep the follow-up appointments with your doctor so they can test and program the pacemaker to best treat your condition.

Why Choose Aurora for a Biventricular Pacemaker?

Aurora Healthcare has participated in many research studies in the development of biventricular pacemakers.  The physicians at Aurora have many years of experience in not only putting in biventricular pacemakers, but they are also experts at managing the care of patients with these devices to get the best results for our patients.  Staff who support and assist the physicians have many years of experience as well.  The staff and physicians are constantly working together to provide the most up-to-date and comprehensive care for our patients. 

Aurora doctors are conveniently located throughout eastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. Find a doctor or heart specialist near you. To get a second opinion or if you need assistance finding a provider, please call 888-649-6892.