Permanent pacemaker

Location of pacemaker in upper-left chest, showing its lead through subclavian vein and into right ventricle

A pacemaker is a small, battery-powered device that sends out small electrical impulses to make the heart beat in a regular rhythm and at a normal speed. A pacemaker consists of a pulse generator and battery that create the electrical impulses. Most pacemakers have wires (leads) that transmit electricity to the heart. A pacemaker has one or more leads. A lead goes from the pacemaker through the subclavian vein and into a heart chamber, such as the right atrium or right ventricle. The end of the lead is in the heart chamber to stimulate the muscle.

A permanent pacemaker is typically placed under the skin of the chest. One type of permanent pacemaker is placed inside the heart. This type does not have leads.

Current as of: December 16, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Steven J. Atlas, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine

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