In the past, pacemakers have only been helpful in patients with abnormally slow heartbeats. However, a specifically designed type of pacemaker is now available to improve the pumping function of the heart in those patients with a weakened heart muscle. These pacemakers have three wires (electrodes) the third of which activates the left ventricle which is the main pumping chamber of the heart. This improves the coordination and pumping of the heart and has been shown in major worldwide trials to improve symptoms and quality of life in patients with heart failure.
Permanent pacemakers are used to correct abnormally slow heart rhythms. Fine electrical wires are passed into the chambers on the right side of the heart and attached to a small battery, which is buried just below the skin. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic. Modern pacemakers are extremely advanced and can very accurately mimic the body’s natural heartbeat. Most patients forget they even have a pacemaker and can lead a completely normal life.
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