How does a pacemaker help in heart diseases?
A pacemaker is a small device that delivers electric pulses to the heart muscles. It is used to treat:
- Heart rhythm problems such as bradycardia (beats too slow) and tachycardia (beats too fast)
- Heart failure
1. Heart rhythm problems
When your heartbeat is too fast, too slow, or irregular, the blood pumped by your heart may not be enough for your body to function normally. This may cause dizziness, fainting spells, and also shortness of breath. There are different treatment methods including a pacemaker. Pacemakers work by sending electric impulses to correct the heart rhythm. There are different types of pacemakers that address different abnormalities. Do consult your doctor to see whether or not a pacemaker is necessary.
2. Heart failures
Note that the pacemaker used to treat heart failure is different! For heart failures, the pacemaker is used for cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT). The type used for these cases is called a biventricular pacemaker .
Heart failure happens when your ventricles are unable to pump enough blood. In some cases, the ventricles might not pump at the same time. The pacemaker helps with this. It sends electrical pulses towards the ventricle muscles so that it pumps at the same time, thus allowing more blood to be pumped out.
A pacemaker can delay the progression of heart failure. That said, you still have to manage your lifestyle and take medications. Do note that not all cases of heart failure require a pacemaker. It would be best to consult your doctor first to see which treatment route is more suitable for your case.
1. Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan. Heart Failure: Should I Get a Pacemaker (Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy)? Uofmhealth.org. Published 2013. Accessed January 14, 2020.
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