February is “Heart Month.” One of the most common heart procedures is pacemaker implantation.
According to doctors at Good Samaritan Health System, every year, up to half a million Americans have to get a pacemaker. Medical experts said that used to be a big deal, but the device has come a long way over the years.
A pacemaker is a battery-operated gadget that helps the heart beat in a regular rhythm. It’s implanted just under the skin. The device is a lot smaller than it used to be, so the surgery is considered minor. Most people go home the next day, and doctors said there is a low risk of complications.
Most pacemakers last seven to 10 years before they need to be replaced.
One of the biggest advances is the technology. The devices now communicate with a computer, wirelessly. If there is a heart emergency, your pacemaker will tell your doctor the instant it happens. That is not all the gadgets can do.
“We can learn about the patient’s respiratory rates, volume status, we can learn about any type of arrhythmias. And it automatically communicates with us,” said Dr. Jeffrey Williams, Medical Director of Electrophysiology at Lebanon Cardiology Associates. “We get a lot of data from these devices and the trick now is managing all that data and trying to incorporate that in the care process for the patient, ” he said.
There are all kinds of reasons why people need pacemakers. If you are experiencing any of the common symptoms of heart problems like fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, or chest pain, you should see your doctor.