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Senior Consultant Interventional Cardiology

Manipal Hospitals, Patiala

Can There Be Complications with Pacemakers?

Posted On: Feb 07, 2024

blogs read 6 Min Read

What is Pacemaker? : Risks and Complications

What is a pacemaker?

A pacemaker is a small, battery-powered device implanted in the chest or abdomen to regulate the heart rhythm of a person whose heart is unfit to do the same. It sends electrical impulses to the heart muscle to help it beat at a regular and appropriate pace. Manipal Hospitals Patiala has some of the best cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons for pacemaker implantations in Punjab. 


Who needs a Pacemaker?

Pacemakers are typically recommended for people with heart rhythm problems, also known as arrhythmias. These conditions can affect the heart's rate, timing, or electrical signals, leading to symptoms like:

  • Palpitations (feeling like your heart is racing or skipping beats).

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Fatigue

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Fainting (syncope)

If you know someone experiencing any of these symptoms, with a family history of heart issues, make sure to get a doctor's consultation for them. Manipal Hospitals Patiala offers VC and in-person consultation facilities by cardiology expert to help you find the right treatment for your loved ones. 

Some common conditions that are treated with pacemakers

  • Bradycardia

This is a slow heart rate, typically less than 60 beats per minute. In severe cases, it can lead to dizziness, fainting, and even heart failure.

  • Tachycardia

This is a fast heart rate, typically exceeding 100 beats per minute. While some types of tachycardia may not require a pacemaker, certain forms can be life-threatening and necessitate intervention.

  • Heart Block

This occurs when the electrical signals from the upper chambers of the heart to the lower chambers are blocked or slowed, disrupting the heart's coordinated pumping action.

  • Sick Sinus Syndrome

This is a group of conditions affecting the heart's natural pacemaker, leading to irregular heartbeats and pauses.

  • Congestive Heart Failure

In severe cases of heart failure, where the heart weakens and can't pump blood effectively, a pacemaker can help regulate the heart rhythm and improve blood flow.

Factors accounted for Pacemaker Implantation

  • Severity of Symptoms

The decision to implant a pacemaker depends on the severity and impact of your symptoms. If your arrhythmia is causing significant problems or putting you at risk of complications, a pacemaker may be recommended.

  • Type of Arrhythmia

Different types of arrhythmias respond differently to treatment. Some may be managed with medications, while others may require a pacemaker.

  • Overall Health

Your overall health and other medical conditions will also be considered. For example, someone with a serious underlying health condition may not be a good candidate for pacemaker surgery.

It's important to note that only a doctor can diagnose a heart rhythm problem and determine if you need a pacemaker. If you're experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it's important to see your doctor for evaluation.

Can a pacemaker lead to complications?

Pacemakers are medical devices and like any other device, they too can have complications. While these are not common, it's important to be aware of them and seek medical attention promptly if you experience any concerning symptoms.

Here are some of the potential pacemaker complications:

  • Infection

This is a serious but rare complication that can occur at the site of the incision during implantation or later. Symptoms of infection include fever, chills, redness, swelling, and pain around the pacemaker.

  • Lead Problems

The thin wires (leads) that connect the pacemaker to the heart can dislodge or break, which can interfere with the device's ability to function properly. Symptoms may include dizziness, fainting, and heart palpitations.

  • Battery Depletion

Pacemaker batteries typically last for 5 to 10 years before needing replacement. When the battery runs low, you may experience symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, and dizziness.

  • Device Malfunction

Although uncommon, the pacemaker itself can malfunction due to electrical interference or other technical issues. This can lead to irregular heartbeats or even complete pacemaker failure.

  • Allergic Reaction

Some people may experience an allergic reaction to the materials used in the pacemaker, which can cause itching, redness, and swelling around the device.

  • Follow your doctor's instructions carefully after implantation.

  • Keep the incision site clean and dry.

  • Avoid activities that could damage the pacemaker or leads.

  • Attend regular follow-up appointments with your doctor.

  • Be aware of potential sources of electrical interference, such as cell phones and microwave ovens etc.

Pacemakers are life-saving devices for many people with heart conditions. At the end of the day, they are devices only and need to be monitored by a cardiovascular expert routinely to ensure optimum work performance. By being aware of the potential complications and taking steps to prevent them, you can help ensure that your pacemaker continues to function properly and keep you healthy. Following the doctor's advice is a must and making regular check-up visits is advised. Book an appointment now to get the finest treatment at the best heart hospital in Patiala.

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