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 ofJuly 22, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
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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