- More than 500,000 people in the United States currently rely on pacemakers to correct a slow, irregular, or otherwise abnormal heartbeat.
- Pacemakers can be temporary or permanent, external or internal. Temporary external pacemakers are usually reserved for patients who have a transient heart malfunction or require major surgery that could interfere with the normal heartbeat. Internal pacemakers are used for chronic conditions that cause persistent abnormal heart rate.
- Pacemaker insertion often is a straightforward, outpatient procedure.
- Once the pacemaker is fully adjusted, the patient should be able to carry out all the functions of normal daily life.
If heart muscle cells are damaged, such that electrical rhythms to the heart are interrupted, the heartbeat may become too slow. The patient may require a pacemaker to counteract problems with either failure of cardiac impulse formation or failure of the atrioventricular node (A-V node) conduction.