What is a Pacemaker?
The human heart has a natural pacemaker in the sinus node or the sinoatrial node, which is a group of cells that trigger electrical signals to stimulate the rhythmic contraction of the heart. In 1958, the first artificial cardiac pacemaker was surgically implanted by Dr. Ake Senning. An artificial pacemaker is a type of cardiac conduction device that is surgically implanted to control and rectify an abnormal heartbeat, with the help of electrical pulses. In the world, there are more than 3 million people with pacemakers and on an average in India, 20,000 patients are implanted with pacemaker devices each year. The pacemaker has a generator that is operated by a 2.5 V lithium-iodine battery and is connected by electrical wires to either one or two leads that are connected to the heart. The generator weighs approximately 20 g and is enclosed in a case that is made up of titanium. The pacemaker is placed under the skin usually just below the collarbone.

A pacemaker is normally used to treat arrhythmia of the heart, a condition where there is alteration in the rate and/or rhythm of heartbeats. When the heart beats slowly, it is called bradycardia. Tachycardia is a condition when the heart beats fast. When the heart beats with an abnormal rhythm, the blood may not be pumped into the body at a uniform rate. This leads to fatigue, fainting, or dizziness. A pacemaker tries to rectify the abnormalities in the heartbeat and thus prevents the secondary conditions.

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