Cardiology Associates of Frederick
Cardiologists located in Frederick, MD
You may need a pacemaker or defibrillator under several circumstances, such as when your heart’s electrical system frequently skips a beat, your heart contractions get out of sync, or you have a condition that puts you at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. The team at Cardiology Associates of Frederick can help you determine if a pacemaker is right for you and offer an expert referral for the procedure. To learn if you might benefit from getting a pacemaker or defibrillator, call the office in Frederick, Maryland, or book an appointment online today.
Pacemaker & Defibrillator Q & A
What are pacemakers and defibrillators?
Pacemakers and defibrillators are both small implantable devices that monitor your heart. A pacemaker detects arrhythmias and sends a small electrical pulse to restore a normal heartbeat.
An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) also monitors your heart rhythm, detecting irregular heartbeats and sending an electrical pulse to correct the problem. However, defibrillators serve another vital function: They can restart your heart if it stops beating.
What conditions are treated with a pacemaker?
The heart conditions frequently treated with a pacemaker include:
Bradycardia is a heartbeat that’s slower than normal.
Atrial fibrillation occurs when your heart’s upper chambers beat chaotically. As a result, you have an irregular and rapid heartbeat.
Heart failure occurs when your heart can’t pump enough blood out to your body.
Cardiomyopathy refers to diseases that affect your heart muscles. As a result, the muscles become enlarged, thicker, or more rigid and can’t pump blood properly.
A conduction disorder is one of several possible problems with your heart’s electrical system.
When might I need a defibrillator?
ICDs primarily treat arrhythmias that increase your risk of having a sudden cardiac arrest. You may need an ICD if you have:
- Ventricular fibrillation
- Ventricular tachycardia
- Long QT syndrome
- A conduction disorder
- Arrhythmia caused by a heart attack
- Congenital conditions known to cause sudden cardiac arrest
- Heart damage due to a neuromuscular disorder
Ventricular fibrillation is one of the most common reasons for getting an ICD. This arrhythmia occurs when the heart’s lower chambers quiver instead of contracting to pump blood.
What symptoms indicate I may need a pacemaker or defibrillator?
The heart conditions treated with pacemakers and defibrillators cause symptoms such as:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
- Fluttering in your chest
- Loss of consciousness
- Abdominal bloating
- Swelling of your legs, ankles, and feet
If you have a slow heartbeat, you may also experience syncope or fainting.
How are pacemakers and defibrillators implanted?
Many pacemakers and defibrillators consist of two parts: a battery-operated pulse generator and one or more lead wires that serve as sensors. The generator is implanted under the skin, and the lead wires are run through blood vessels into your heart.
Some pacemakers and defibrillators are wireless, containing the wire sensors within the pulse generator. Your pacemaker or defibrillator may also be programmed for remote monitoring, allowing the device to transmit information to your provider.
If you have questions about pacemakers or defibrillators, call Cardiology Associates of Frederick or book an appointment online today.
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