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Pacemakers - The Procedure

Your procedure will take about one to three hours. You'll leave your family 30-60 minutes before your surgery and they will be able to see you when you are settled in recovery about one hour after your procedure is complete. Your family will be informed of your progress. They can wait for you in the Surgery Waiting Room.


Before Your Procedure


Some patients are already in the hospital the night before surgery while others come in the morning of surgery. Regardless of where you spend the night, preparation will be the same.


The risks and benefits of the procedure will be explained to you by your physician prior to its beginning.


   Come prepared to spend the night.

   Arrange for someone to drive you home.

   Shower the night before your surgery.

   Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the evening before your surgery.

   Take medications if directed to do so by your doctor.

   If you are diabetic, consult your doctor about taking your insulin.

   If you take Coumadin, Plavix, aspirin, or herbal products your doctor may discontinue them several days before your surgery.


Preparing for your Procedure


   You may have a blood test, a urinalysis and possibly a chest x-ray.

   Your nurse will start an I.V.

   You may be given a sedative to help you relax.


During Your Procedure


ICDs and pacemakers are generally implanted in the right or left upper chest area, just below the collarbone, or in your abdominal area. The decision is based on your size and shape, whether or not you have already had chest

surgery and what is safest for you.

  • In the operating room, you may notice that it is cold and very bright.
  • You will be given a local anesthetic to numb the skin.
  • I.V. sedation will also be given.
  • Your surgeon will make a small incision to create a "pocket" for the generator (battery) to sit in. 
  • X-ray will be used to guide long, flexible wires or leads into a vein in the upper chest. The leads will then be threaded through the vein to the chambers of the heart. The tip of each lead rests directly against the inner heart wall.
  • After careful positioning, the leads will be connected to the generator and tested. The generator will be programmed for your heart's specific needs.
  • The incision will be closed and covered with a sterile dressing.

After Your Procedure


After your surgery, you will be moved to the recovery room and then to the Progressive Care Unit (PCU).

  • Your heart rate, rhythm, blood pressure and incision site will be carefully monitored.
  • It is normal to have some pain around the incision. Please notify your      nurse of any discomfort you may have. You may have medication for anxiety, restlessness, pain and general discomfort.
  • Your arm will be placed in a sling after the procedure. Do not attempt to raise your arm above shoulder level on the affected side.


 Related Information
 The Procedure
 Going Home - Discharge Instructions
 Follow Up Care
 When to Call the Doctor
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