Thursday, July 1, 2010

What Is A Pacemaker

My Dad has a pace maker, he had to have one
put in a yearand half ago during Thanksgiving holidays.
Dad had had a stroke and I took him to the hospital
and while he was there the doctors told him because
of his heart condition and the ARRHYTHMIAS
he needed to have a pace maker that it would help
with the arrhythmia he had plus with his heart condition.
Dad has had heart trouble since he was a child, but it
seems the older he gets the worse it gets. He actually
started having alot of trouble with it when he was in
the service.

Dad has had several heart attacks and some strokes,
also he's had some mini strokes. Some of the mini
strokes are referred to as TIA's, and some are referred
as a cluster of mini strokes.
My Dad's heart is not like everyone else's, by that
I mean shaped like most peoples, Dad's heart is shaped
oblonged and kinda narrow.
It sits on the side of a sink in place right in the middle
of his chest. This can not be fixed from what we've
been told.
There are a lot of other people out there that do not have any
idea what a pace maker is or what it does, so I thought I would
just put a note in and maybe this might in some small way help
with a little bit of information about a pace maker.

*******************

What Is a Pacemaker?

A pacemaker is a small device that's placed
in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal
heart rhythms. This device uses electrical pulses
to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate.
Pacemakers are used to treat arrhythmias
(ah-RITH-me-ahs). Arrhythmias are problems
with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an
arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow,
or with an irregular rhythm.

A heartbeat that's too fast is called tachycardia
(TAK-ih-KAR-de-ah). A heartbeat that's too slow
is called bradycardia (bray-de-KAR-de-ah).
During an arrhythmia, the heart may not be able to
pump enough blood to the body. This may cause
symptoms such as fatigue (tiredness), shortness of
breath, or fainting. Severe arrhythmias can damage
the body's vital organs and may even cause loss of
consciousness or death.
A pacemaker can relieve some arrhythmia symptoms,
such as fatigue and fainting. A pacemaker also can help
a person who has abnormal heart rhythms resume a more
active lifestyle.

Understanding the Heart's Electrical System

Your heart has its own internal electrical system that
controls the rate and rhythm of your heartbeat.
With each heartbeat, an electrical signal spreads from
the top of your heart to the bottom. As the signal travels,
it causes the heart to contract and pump blood.

Each electrical signal normally begins in a group of cells
called the sinus node or sinoatrial (SA) node. As the
signal spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom,
 it coordinates the timing of heart cell activity.

First, the heart's two upper chambers, the atria (AY-tree-uh),
 contract. This contraction pumps blood into the heart's two
lower chambers, the ventricles (VEN-trih-kuls). The ventricles
 then contract and pump blood to the rest of the body. The
combined contraction of the atria and ventricles is a heartbeat.

For more information on the heart's electrical system and
detailed animations, go to the Diseases and Conditions
Index How the Heart Works article.

Overview

Faulty electrical signaling in the heart causes arrhythmias.
A pacemaker uses low-energy electrical pulses to
overcome this faulty electrical signaling. Pacemakers can:
*Speed up a slow heart rhythm.
*Help control an abnormal or fast heart rhythm.
*Make sure the ventricles contract normally if the atria
are quivering instead of beating with a normal rhythm
(a condition called atrial fibrillation).
*Coordinate the electrical signaling between the upper
and lower chambers of the heart.
Coordinate the electrical signaling between the ventricles.
Pacemakers that do this are called cardiac resynchronization
therapy (CRT) devices. CRT devices are used to treat
heart failure.

Prevent dangerous arrhythmias caused by a disorder called
long QT syndrome.
Pacemakers also can monitor and record your heart's
electrical activity and heart rhythm. Newer pacemakers
can monitor your blood temperature, breathing rate, and
other factors and adjust your heart rate to changes in your
activity.

Pacemakers can be temporary or permanent. Temporary
pacemakers are used to treat temporary heartbeat problems,
such as a slow heartbeat that's caused by a heart attack,
heart surgery, or an overdose of medicine.
Temporary pacemakers also are used during emergencies.
They're used until a permanent pacemaker can be implanted
or until the temporary condition goes away. If you have a
temporary pacemaker, you'll stay in a hospital as long as
the device is in place.
Permanent pacemakers are used to control long-term
heart rhythm problems. This article mainly discusses
permanent pacemakers, unless stated otherwise.

Doctors also treat arrhythmias with another device called
an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). An ICD is
similar to a pacemaker. However, besides using low-energy
electrical pulses, an ICD also can use high-energy electrical
pulses to treat certain dangerous arrhythmias.

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