Dr Moussa Nassif

Installing electrical pacemakers

Installing electrical pacemakers

The natural system that controls the heartbeat

In order to understand what an EKG is, we must first understand the nature of the system that controls the heart’s pace.

The heart is made up of four main chambers, two on the upper left side (left atrium and right atrium), and two chambers on the lower right side (right ventricle and left ventricle).

The heart does not beat randomly, but rather it beats according to a specific system called the “electrical heart system”. This system controls the heart rate through a mass of cells called the sinoatrial node (SA node). This mass sends electrical signals that cause the heart’s upper chambers (atria) to contract.

Note: The normal rate of contraction of the atria in a healthy adult person is estimated to be between 60 and 100 beats per minute.

What is a pacemaker?

A pacemaker is a small device — about the size of a matchbox — that sends electrical signals to the heart muscle to regulate your heart rate.

How does a pacemaker work?

The pacemaker consists of the following:

An electrical signal generating battery.
Lead wires that connect to the heart.
A sensor dedicated to recognizing body movement and breathing rate.

The battery emits electrical signals at a precise, measured rate to the heart through wires connected to the heart.

Note: Pacemaker Implantation requires a minor surgery to install the device in the chest area.

Reasons for installing a pacemaker

The heart is nothing but a muscular pump that pumps blood to all parts of the body, and that pump (i.e. the heart muscle) is controlled by a group of electrical signals coming from the sinoatrial node (SA node).

The electrical signals that control the heart rate may be disturbed, which can lead to one of the following problems:

Steps to implant a pacemaker

Steps to the pacemaker installation process include:

Make a small surgical incision in the upper left of the chest area.
Determine the appropriate vein to insert the pacemaker wires.
The device’s flexible wires are gradually inserted through the selected vein until they reach the heart muscle.
Ensure that the wires of the device are stable in the correct area using x-rays.
Making a small pocket in the chest muscles to implant the body of the device itself (the generator).
Connecting the end of the wires to the electric generator, so that one end of the wires is connected to the heart, while the other end is connected to the device itself.

The person undergoes the steps of installing a pacemaker under the influence of mild sedatives, meaning that the person is conscious during that process.

How long does it take to install a pacemaker?

 

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