Your heart has a built-in electrical system that controls the rate and rhythm at which its muscles contract. These contractions keep your heart beating and pumping blood throughout your body. When the electrical signals that control your heartbeat become erratic, it can put undue pressure on some parts of your heart. We call this condition arrhythmia. Arrhythmia can affect either the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) or the lower chambers (the ventricles). It can cause your heartbeat to be too slow or too fast. When your heartbeat is irregular, you may experience palpitations, lightheadedness, dizziness, or even fainting (syncope). Left untreated, arrhythmias can lead to cardiac arrest.
Cross County Cardiology – Mount Sinai uses the latest approaches to treat these conditions. A pacemaker is a technology that can manage arrhythmia. We insert this small, battery-powered medical device into your chest through a small incision, usually beneath the shoulder or collarbone. Once installed, the pacemaker continually releases low-energy electrical impulses. These impulses restore a regular heartbeat.
Deciding to use a pacemaker is not a light decision. Before our doctors recommend one, they will carefully consider your heart health, any symptoms you have reported, your overall health, and your history of heart disease. We will talk with you about this decision so you understand how and why a pacemaker will help.
What to Expect During a Pacemaker Procedure
If your cardiologist decides you need a pacemaker, we will insert it in a hospital during a surgical procedure that usually requires an overnight stay. Afterward, your cardiologist will monitor how well your pacemaker is functioning as part of your ongoing cardiac care.
If your cardiologist determines you may have arrhythmia, they may discuss another type of device called an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). This device can also help control irregular heartbeats.