The replacement surgery is done to replace a malfunctioning pacemaker. Read on to know more about the procedure and the risks involved in it…
The human heart is one such organ that does not stop functioning till our very last breath. It manages to pump blood to each and every cell in the body. Well, have you ever wondered how does the heart pump blood to the entire body in less than one second? Well, there is a detailed and intricate system by which the function of the heart is carried out. The heart is stimulated to contract due to a series of electrical impulses that are sent out by a structure known as the sinoatrial node or the pacemaker.
However, when this pacemaker fails to function properly, it leads to a series of serious problems like cardiac arrhythmias. In such cases, there is a need to replace the pacemaker. There are different types of pacemakers available, including a temporary one and a permanent one. Given below are the details regarding this procedure.
Pacemaker Replacement Procedure
The procedure for replacement of a pacemaker is not a new one, as approximately half a million Americans have an artificial one. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia by a surgeon and a cardiologist. Initially, an incision is made above the clavicle and a wire is guided via this incision through a large vein into the heart. This wire, also known as lead, has a double or bipolar electrode attached to its end. These electrodes are the structures that give an electric charge to the heart so as to provide the heart rate and the heartbeat. Then, the leads are attached to the position where the electric stimulation of the heart is done and then, the pacemaker is implanted under the skin of the chest and the patient is sutured. Throughout the procedure and later during the hospital stay, the patient’s vital signs are closely guarded.
Risks and Complications
No operation is absolutely risk free and so, the procedure of replacement of a pacemaker also comes with its fair share of risks. Since this is an open surgical procedure which is done on a fully functioning heart, there is a risk of the usual surgical complications, like infection, hemorrhage, uncontrolled bleeding, etc. One major risk that is involved with this procedure is the formation of a blood clot, also known as embolism. However, the most common of all pacemaker procedure complications is the development of an infection.
Initially, an antibiotic cover is given to prevent the occurrence but if the pacemaker itself gets infected, then there may be need for removing it and repeating the surgery. There may also be some amount of scarring of the heart tissue during the procedure. There are certain steps that you need to undertake that will aid in the recovery. You need to take great care of the wound so as to prevent it from getting infected. Ask your doctor about how to take care of the dressing. The occurrence of any complication will affect the procedure cost.
Undergoing the pacemaker replacement procedure alone is not a sufficient measure to ensure that there is no future complication with the functioning of the human heart. There are many precautions that a person who has an artificial pacemaker needs to follow. This includes avoiding playing rough contact sports like rugby and boxing. The person will also need to avoid going to places where there is a strong electrical field, like an MRI scanner and for that matter, even to places that physically vibrate, like a free bridge across a valley.
The person will also need to inform beforehand that he has had pacemaker procedure, before undergoing any kind of security check with devices. In short, by practicing certain basic precautionary measures and by going for regular check-ups, a person can ensure that he lives a perfectly normal and healthy life after undergoing a pacemaker replacement surgery.