A pacemaker replacement is a surgical procedure to change the electrical impulse generator device in people’s chest. While there are many reasons for doing this, let us look at what a pacemaker does. Pacemakers are implants your doctor may put into your chest to support and assist your heart’s electrical system.
When the heart has an automatic electrical system that keeps the heart beating and functioning, damage to this system in the heart causes many problems for people. However, the heart needs to be helped with a mechanical device. This device works with the heart to keep people alive for years.
This device is called a pacemaker. The pacemaker is the part of the heart where the automatic electrical signals come from. The pacemaker device gets its name from this part of the heart.
The pacemaker has two (2) main components; the pulse generator and the leads. A pulse generator helps generate the electrical signals needed to support the heart’s function. At the same time, the leads carry these signals to the heart to correct any wrong signal in the heart. However, have I told you that this device uses a battery? The pacemaker has a battery that powers it. These batteries are powerful and usually last for five to ten years.
But do these electronic devices work like the normal heart? Yes. People who have this device in their chest live a normal life. They can spend a lot of time with their parents, relatives, kids, and partners. They go to their offices and get their jobs done. Some people may also sit with their grandkids and play with them. But like other patients, they need regular monitoring and scheduled checkups.
In addition, over time, people using pacemaker devices may need to replace them. But it’s not so easy to cut people’s chests open and put a new pacemaker into their chests. The decision must be weighed thoroughly by the doctor. There must also be a clear indication to change the pacemaker.
Not all pacemakers have leads. Here’s a list of the types of pacemakers you should know:
Since pacemaker devices help people live quality lives, why do they have to be replaced? Here are a few reasons why they can fail and should replace.
Lastly, the reasons above can be life-threatening if you don’t notice them quickly. So, how do patients know they need a pacemaker replacement?
People who have pacemakers in their chests need regular close monitoring by their healthcare team. They may also visit the hospital for routine checkups. These visits are to monitor the pacemaker’s overall health, including the battery, leads, and pulse generator.
Furthermore, during these visits, your doctor will discuss the replacement time for your pacemaker batteries and how to prepare for it. But if the pacemaker fails due to another reason, the symptoms treated by the pacemaker return. Some of these symptoms are:
You should look out for these symptoms if you have a replacement or know someone who does.
There is no definite answer to this question. Here’s why: pacemaker batteries can last for 8-10 years. Also, patients go for routine checkups every 3-12 months. If the batteries fail, the pacemakers will get a replacement. Also, if any abnormality is picked up at the routine checkups, replacement surgery is scheduled.
Pacemaker replacement is an expensive surgery. Even if it can be replaced readily, the cost of replacement is a difficult mountain to climb
Doctors are in charge of removing and replacing pacemakers. This procedure can be straightforward or quite complex, depending on why the pacemaker requires a change. Generally, your doctor can carry out this procedure in an outpatient setting. They may administer local anesthesia to the areas surrounding the pacemaker. The doctor makes incisions (cuts) over the pacemaker.
Furthermore, your doctor examines the old pacemaker. The pulse generator, leads, and batteries will undergo thorough observation. Usually, the pulse generator may need a replacement, or the battery may need a new one. However, your doctor will remove the old pulse generator and attach a new one to the leads.
In addition, this surgery should take about two hours if it’s a straightforward one. But it could take more hours if the lead needs replacement and may require more monitoring after the surgery. You will get close monitoring after the surgery and given specific instructions to follow. your doctor may discharge you to go home the same day or the next day after the procedure. The doctor monitors the effectiveness of the new pacemaker.
Lastly, patients who have just replaced their pacemakers should avoid electrical equipment with high electromagnetic fields. Avoid pieces of equipment like Induction Knobs, MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), and TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation).
Did you get a replacement surgery? Or do you know someone who just had it, and you’re worried if they might have side effects? Here are a few things to watch out for:
In addition, other familiar side effects are:
Consequently, there is an alternative to a pacemaker. Researchers suggest that an Implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) is an excellent alternative to the pacemaker. Although some people use the terms interchangeably, they function differently. The ICD sends large electric shocks that help reboot the heart to start pumping again. While the pacemaker generates its electric signals and sends them to the heart, the ICD helps to reset the heart.
However, an ICD works like a defibrillator to reset and restart the heart when its signals are firing abnormally. ICDs are pretty expensive, like the pacemaker. But they’re an alternative worth considering for the patient.
Finally, researchers indicate that pacemaker devices have been a great success. However, pacemaker replacement means changing the electric device that generates signals to help the heart function appropriately. This procedure is delicate. The doctor and patient should understand why and what the procedure entails.
Although procedures like this can be life-threatening and are pretty expensive, in the United States of America (USA), this procedure costs between twenty-six thousand dollars ($26,000) and seventy thousand dollars ($70,000) on average. That costs a lot. On the other hand, in Turkey, it costs less than $10,000.