Pacemaker + Defibrillator Implantation

The Cardiac Cath Lab at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital implants pacemakers and defibrillators (ICD's). If your cardiologist has recommended that you or your loved one have a permanent pacemaker, or defibrillator implanted, this information will assist you in your understanding of the procedure.

What is a pacemaker?

A pacemaker is a small electrical device that is implanted in your body to help your heart beat regularly. It may be needed when your heart's internal pacemaker is not working effectively on its own.

What is a defibrillator?

A defibrillator is a small electrical device that is implanted in your body to monitor and help regulate your heart rate and rhythm. A defibrillator is generally combined with a pacemaker so that it does all the same functions as a pacemaker, but it can also generate an electrical impulse to help reset the heart if it goes into certain abnormal rhythms which could be potentially deadly if they are not treated.

When is a pacemaker needed?

You might need a pacemaker if:

  • Your heart is not beating fast enough
  • Your heart is beating irregularly
  • The pathways that carry electrical impulses through your heart become blocked

Symptoms that might indicate a slow or irregular heartbeat are: dizziness or lightheadedness, shortness of breath, fatigue and syncope (fainting spells). After you have a pacemaker implanted these symptoms should improve.

How to prepare for a cardiac procedure:

  • Bring in a list of your current medications.
  • Nothing to eat for 8 hours pre-procedure, or generally NPO after 12 midnight.
  • Arrival time is generally 1-2 hours pre-procedure (You will be instructed on what time to arrive).