• PaceMaker

    A pacemaker is a small device that's placed in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms. This device uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate. Get the answers you need to take control of your health from our up-to-date, complementary cardiac pacemaker resources from your local cardiologists.

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    Dr. Graham Wong, Cardiologist, MD, MPH, FRCPC, FACC, discusses pacemakers.
    Dr. Graham Wong, Cardiologist, MD, MPH, FRCPC, FACC, discusses pacemakers.
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    Dr. Paul Khairy, MD, FRCP, Cardiologist, talks about how pacemakers work and how they are implanted to treat patients with irregular heart rates.
    Dr. Paul Khairy, MD, FRCP, Cardiologist, talks about how pacemakers work and how they are implanted to treat patients with irregular heart rates.
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    Dr. Graham Wong, Cardiologist, MD, MPH, FRCPC, FACC, discusses How a Pacemaker is Placed in the Body?
    Dr. Graham Wong, Cardiologist, MD, MPH, FRCPC, FACC, discusses How a Pacemaker is Placed in the Body?
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    Lynda Gallagher, BSc., RN, CCN(C), CCDS, Nurse, talks about pacemakers and defibrillators, how they are inserted and their functionality. Southlake Regional Health Centre
    Lynda Gallagher, BSc., RN, CCN(C), CCDS, Nurse, talks about pacemakers and defibrillators, how they are inserted and their functionality. Southlake Regional Health Centre
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    Dr. Kevin Pistawka, MD, FRCSC, Cardiologist, discusses how different pacemakers work.
    Dr. Kevin Pistawka, MD, FRCSC, Cardiologist, discusses how different pacemakers work.
  • What is a Pacemaker?

    A pacemaker is an electronic device that you’ve probably heard about and typically this is used for patients who have had faints or blackouts, patients who have shortness of breath or fatigue typically from a low heart rate. So patients who have heart rates down in the 30s or 40s, or are having three or four second gaps in the heart rhythm, they’re the ones that we really need to consider pacing.  

                              

    A pacemaker is actually a rather miniaturized device these days. The older devices were much larger. They’re put in through a small incision just under the collarbone. The lead is then fed down through a vein to the right side of the heart, and it provides electrical signal, and it acts very much like a thermostat. So when the heart rate drops too low the pacer will kick in and elevate the heart rate much as a thermostat would elevate the temperature in your house. A pacer's typically the batteries last ten to 15 years.  

    The operation usually is done as a day stay or a simple overnight stay, and patients with pacemakers typically can expect to have the battery replaced again in an operation that’s really pretty simple and usually again just requires a short stay in hospital for a few hours. Typically when a patient has a pacemaker inserted the biggest thing that it’s helping do is preventing fainting because fainting can be a real big problem. Can you imagine if you’re driving a car and you lose consciousness?  So the primary focus of a pacemaker is to prevent faints, but in addition to that certainly helping the patient’s fatigue, breathlessness is an important thing that a pacer can do for many patients, not all.  This is only fixing the electrical part of the heart. We’re not fixing the plumbing. We’re not fixing the valves. So it’s not really affecting the pump function, but it is certainly restoring the timing to a more natural rhythm so that patients can have better quality of life.  Often seeing a local family physician or a pharmacist in conjunction with a registered dietitian, a local athletic therapist  is a great option to take control of dehydration. In conjunction with healthy eating, exercise.

    Presenter: Dr. Kevin Pistawka, Cardiologist, Kelowna, BC

    Now Health Network Local Practitioners: Cardiologist

  • How is a Pacemaker Placed in the Body?

    A pacemaker insertion is fairly standard; pacemakers have been inserted for the better part of 40 years now. The procedure itself takes about an hour. It’s done under local anesthetic but in a sterile operating room, or a cardiac catherization suite done under sterile technique. The way in which a pacemaker is inserted is that there is one or two leads that are inserted through a vein that tracks into the heart, and then the generator where the battery in the computer of the pacemaker is, then implanted underneath the skin, usually under the collarbone on the left or the right side.

    Pacemakers being an electrical device that requires electricity, depends on the battery, in order to afford the pacemaker to work. Therefore, the longevity of how a pacemaker works depends on how often it’s used.

    So if a pacemaker is required all the time to pace your heart because you have no underlying heart rate, the pacemaker battery life will be shorter than if the pacemaker is only called into action once every two or three months, or once a year, in which the pacemaker could last 10, 15 years. So the duration of a pacemaker is entirely dependent on how frequently the body requires its use.   Often seeing a local family physician or a pharmacist in conjunction with a registered dietitian, a local athletic therapist  is a great option to take control of dehydration. In conjunction with healthy eating, exercise and Smart Food Now

    Presenter: Dr. Graham Wong, Cardiologist, Vancouver, BC

    Local Practitioners: Cardiologist

  • Pacemaker and Defibrillator Therapy

    There are two different types of implantable cardiac devices. One is called a pacemaker. A pacemaker is designed for patients that have a slow or sluggish heart rate, or require the ability to increase their heart rate with activity when their own natural heart rates will not do that.

    The other type of a device is called an implantable cardiac defibrillator, or an ICD. An ICD is a larger device, and it’s designed with all of the pacemaker capabilities built inside, as well as the ability to identify a lethal heart rhythm such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, and apply therapies to break that rhythm to prevent sudden cardiac death.

    There are two different types of pacemakers. One is the traditional transvenous type of pacemaker. With this pacemaker, it is implanted under the skin, under your collarbone, and a lead is thread through the vein into the right atrium, the right ventricle and/or sometimes the surface of the left ventricle.

    The other type of a pacemaker is called a leadless pacemaker. That pacemaker is implanted into your right ventricle, through a large catheter through your groin. Once your pacemaker or ICD is implanted, you will be seen by a nurse from the heart rhythm program right after the implant process. You will also be seen one week in the device clinic, at three months in the device clinic and every six months after that.

    During this visit, the nurse from the heart rhythm program will be able to communicate with your ICD or pacemaker to determine if there’s any fast heart rates, slow heart rates, any arrhythmias that we need to be concerned about, and to ask you how you’re feeling with your new device. Presenter: Lynda Gallagher, Nurse, Newmarket, ON

    Now Health Network Local Practitioners: Nurse

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