A pacemaker is a small device that is permanently implanted under the skin near the clavicle (collarbone) to regulate heart rate. Within the heart, a natural pacemaker called the SA node generates the electrical impulses that control heartbeat and allow the heart valves that control blood flow to function properly. Both improper function of the SA node and blocked pathways for the transmittal of the electrical pulses can slow heart rate to an abnormal and unhealthy level.
A pacemaker sends electrical impulses to the upper heart chambers where the SA node resides in order to restore normal heart rate. A pacemaker consists of a pulse generator that produces the electrical impulses and can sense and return signals from the heart. One or more leads (wires) conduct the electrical signals from the pulse generator to the heart. Each lead has an electrode at the end to receive and transmit signals.
There are three types of standard pacemakers. “Single-chamber” pacemakers have a lead wire attached to the right ventricle (lower heart chamber) or the right atrium (upper heart chamber). “Dual-chamber” pacemakers have a lead attached to both the right ventricle and atrium. “Biventricular” pacemakers send impulses to the both the right and left ventricles and the right atrium.
Learn more about pacemakers here:
- Conditions related to pacemakers
- Pacemaker research