Treating Cardiovascular Diseases in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois
A pacemaker is a small device put in the chest and connected to one or two wires (called leads) in the heart to help the heart keep a normal heart rate. Pacemakers can treat heart rates that are too slow, too fast or too irregular. When the pacemaker is connected to the wires in your heart, the pacemaker will look at every heart beat and keep the heart beating if your rate is too slow or too irregular, which are signs of arrhythmia.
If your heart is beating too fast, the pacemaker can give your doctor information that they can use to help treat the fast heart rate. The pacemaker can help treat symptoms from the abnormal heart rates, such a tiredness or fainting. Our doctors discuss the risks, side effects, and complications with our patients before the procedure.
How to Prepare for a Pacemaker Implant 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. You will also get 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. You will receive an antibiotic before the start of your procedure to also help prevent infection.
Most people can go home the day after the procedure, but you may want to take a few days off from 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.
What to Expect During a Pacemaker Implant Procedure
The procedure room is a cool temperature and full of equipment. The table is narrow and the staff will assist you into a comfortable position on the table. They 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 cold soap with an alcohol smell on your chest and neck. The soap 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 1 - 2 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 Pacemaker Implant 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 with your arm 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, but you may want to take a few days off 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. Your doctor will also 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.
After your procedure, you will be given instructions for follow up appointments. It is very important to keep your appointments with your doctor so they can test and program the pacemaker to best treat your condition.
Why Choose Aurora for a Pacemaker Implant Procedure?
The physicians at Aurora have many years of experience in not only putting in these devices, but they are also experts at managing the care of patients after having these devices put in to get the best results for our patients. The 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 vascular specialist near you. To get a second opinion or if you need assistance finding a provider, please call 888-649-6892.