A biventricular pacemaker, sometimes simply referred to as just a pacemaker or ‘life support’ or even artificial heart, is a device that helps the heart to keep up the heart rate or pulse.
Please note that these paragraphs, or for that matter anything in relation to the pacemaker, that has been written on this website merely explains the anatomy and working of the biventricular pacemaker. While dealing with the pacemaker it is essential to consult a cardiac surgeon as the condition of any patient needing such a pacemaker is very, very sensitive.
Cardiac Health and CRT
Let’s keep the entire elaboration as simple as possible. The human heart, as we all know, is exactly like a small pump that works by the expansion and contraction of its muscles. The anatomy of the heart is just like a water balloon. It expands when blood is filled into it and contracts to pump all the blood out. There are two probable causes behind the weakened heart and the pulse rate, the reason is that the electrical impulse becomes weak or muscles themselves become weak. Now, when the muscles become weak there is not much that can be done, as muscles are not replaceable. But either ways, a pacemaker can be installed so that the heart can function properly.
The human heart is basically divided into 4 parts, right atrium and ventricle and left atrium and ventricle. The two sides are independent of each other and have a different set of cardiac muscles.
When a person starts suffering from any heart related ailment, the synchronization of expansion and contraction of the two sides of the heart starts degrading, which gives the patients a series of ailments and symptoms ranging from hypertension to shortness of breath. There are several causes of such ailments, which are also quite varied. A certain pressure starts building up inside the heart in such cases.
When this pressure starts getting out of hand, the CRT (Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy) is deployed. There are some very varied indications as to when it is to be deployed. The delayed contraction and expansion in the two parts leads to a drop in blood pressure, blood circulation and pulse. In simple words the rate of blood (not volume) flowing out of your heart drops down, causing the patient to become weak and also depicting symptoms such as swelling at the ankles.
This device is used in order to strike a balance in between the left and right chambers of the heart. The expansion and contraction process starts with the sinoatrial (SA) node delivering a certain electric shock (in small quantities) to the heart, near the right ventricle. This small shock travels down to the atrioventricular AV node, which is located in between the atria and ventricles. The AV node slows down the current, and as a result the atria contract slightly before the ventricles, thus pumping out the blood from atria to the ventricles and then out of the heart.
Based on this pathway of blood through the heart, the pacemaker, a charge generating device is surgically installed below the skin, so as to ensure the expansion and contraction of the heart. There are three places where the pacemaker delivers a controlled and requisite current to the heart, namely, right atrium, right ventricle and left ventricle through the coronary sinus vein. The points or conductors which deliver the current are known as leads.
In cases where the heart rate drops down, the electric current is delivered in the ventricles, which causes contraction and expansion of the left and right ventricle in a congruent timing regulating the blood flow and the pulse rate. There is one lead that acts as a stimulant for the delay process, the function that atrioventricular AV node fulfills. Thus, the stimulation or pacemaker’s cycle starts with the ventricles and ends in the next heartbeat at the contraction of atrium, beginning a new cycle.
The cost of a pacemaker is quite high and will also differ with several factors such as the surgeon’s fees and also the condition of the heart.