A pacemaker insertion is the implantation of a small electronic device that is usually placed in the chest (just below the collarbone) to help regulate slow electrical problems with the heart. A pacemaker may be recommended to ensure that the heartbeat does not slow to a dangerously low rate.
A pacemaker is composed of three parts: a pulse generator, one or more leads, and an electrode on each lead. A pacemaker signals the heart to beat when the heartbeat is too slow or irregular.
A pacemaker procedure may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your doctor’s practices. After a pacemaker insertion, regularly scheduled appointments will be made to ensure the pacemaker is functioning properly. The doctor uses a special computer, called a programmer, to review the pacemaker’s activity and adjust the settings when needed.
Most devices will last at least 5 to 7 years, depending on use, after which the battery or pulse generator will need to be replaced. Replacing a pacemaker generator may be done on an outpatient basis or may include an overnight stay in the hospital.Previous Page Last Review Date: August 14, 2019