2010 Hospital of the Year
Cardiac Catheterization Lab
For more information or to see if a pacemaker may be right for you, talk to your primary care physician.


A pacemaker can be used to replace the function of the natural pacemaker of the heart when the heart is beating too slowly.

A pacemaker is a small, battery-powered device that sends out weak electrical impulses that cause the heart muscle to contract. The pacemaker itself is a waterproof object about the size of a silver dollar. A pacemaker consists of wires (leads), which transmit electricity to the heart, and the pulse generator and battery, which generate the electrical impulses.

Pacemakers are inserted to treat bradycardia when the heart beats so slowly that it does not pump enough blood to meet the body's needs, resulting in symptoms such as fainting. At other times, pacemakers are implanted when bradycardia is expected to get worse and cause complications. If a person with a slow heart rate does not have symptoms, pacemakers are used only when a doctor finds some very specific indications.

After having a permanent pacemaker implanted, you may need to avoid certain activities or conditions that might interrupt the signals sent by the pacemaker to the heart. Follow your doctor's specific instructions about what precautions to take. Make it known to health professionals that you have a pacemaker before you have any diagnostic testing, such as an MRI scan or surgery.