A pacemaker is a device that sends small electrical impulses to the heart muscle to maintain a suitable heart rate or to stimulate the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles).
Pacemakers are used to treat patients with brady-arrythmias, slow heart rhythms that may occur as a result of disease in the heart’s conduction system (such as the SA node, AV node or His-Purkinje network).
A leadless pacemaker is small self-contained device that is inserted in the right ventricle of the heart.
Not everyone is a candidate for a leadless pacemaker. Currently, the device is available only for patients with certain medical conditions and a slow heart rate (bradycardia) who need single-chamber pacing only. Like all pacemakers, leadless pacemakers require approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and sometimes there are additional restrictions upon availability for an individual patient. Your doctor can tell you if you are a candidate for a leadless pacemaker after a review of your medical history, heart rhythm, and the results of medical tests. You may need an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) or other noninvasive tests.
The pacemaker is put in place using a long, thin tube called a catheter. The catheter is inserted into the femoral vein through a very small incision in your groin. Your doctor will numb this area with local anesthetic (pain-relieving medication). Your doctor will use an X-ray machine to guide the catheter to your heart. Once the catheter is inside the right ventricle, your doctor will place the pacemaker into position in the heart. The device is tested to make sure it is attached to the wall and programmed correctly. Then, the catheter is removed and the incision site is closed by applying pressure to the area.
The procedure takes about 30 minutes to complete, although this can vary patient-to-patient based on individual anatomical consideration.
You will need to lie flat and keep the leg straight for two to six hours after the procedure. This prevents bleeding from the access site. Do not try to sit or stand. A sterile dressing will be placed on your groin area to protect it from infection. You will spend the night in the hospital and will be able to go home after your device check and a chest X-ray.
Every procedure has complications associated with it. The most common possible problems after a leadless pacemaker implant involve the incision site, such as swelling and bleeding. These are not typically life threatening but may lead to a longer hospital stay or slower recovery.
More serious but rare complications include the device moving out of place (dislodgement) or internal bleeding, such as pericardial effusion or tamponade. Your doctor will talk to you before your procedure about the risks and benefits of the implant.
Follow up after a leadless pacemaker is similar to a traditional schedule with noninvasive checks. For more information, follow this link: recovery and follow up after a device.
Doctors vary in quality due to differences in training and experience; hospitals differ in the number of services available. The more complex your medical problem, the greater these differences in quality become and the more they matter.
Clearly, the doctor and hospital that you choose for complex, specialized medical care will have a direct impact on how well you do. To help you make this choice, please review ourMiller Family Heart and Vascular Institute Outcomes.
Choosing a doctor to treat your abnormal heart rhythm depends on where you are in your diagnosis and treatment. The following Heart and Vascular Institute Section treats patients with Arrhythmias and implants leadless pacemakers:
For younger patients with abnormal heart rhythms:
See: About Us to learn more about the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute.
If you need more information, click here to contact us, chat online with a nurse or call the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute Resource & Information Nurse at 216.445.9288 or toll-free at 866.289.6911. We would be happy to help you.
Diagnostic tests are used to diagnose your abnormal heartbeat and the most effective treatment method.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 05/01/2019