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Lee Health: Heart Experts Helping the Community Understand Pacemakers

Lee Health's cardiologists are here to help you understand pacemakers and how they help our patients. Our experts help Southwest Floridians manage and treat cardiovascular issues so you can live your best heart-healthy life.

What is a pacemaker?

Pacemakers are used in patients who have bradycardia—a slow heart beat that may occur as a result of disease in the heart's conduction system. When the pacemaker detects that your heart rate is too slow, it emits electrical impulses. Each of these impulses triggers your heart to beat, helping it to speed up and attain a more regular rhythm.

A pacemaker may also be used to treat fainting spells, congestive heart failure, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Not Your Grandmother’s Pacemaker

One of Lee Health's Health Matters segments that summarizes what pacemakers are and how they work.

How are pacemakers implanted?

An electrophysiologist implants a pacemaker during a simple surgical procedure. 

Our staff will give you medication through an IV to help you relax, but you remain awake during the procedure. We will also provide an anesthetic to numb the skin at the site of the incision. We monitor your heart rate and blood pressure throughout the procedure.

We make an incision just under your left collarbone and direct the wires from the pacemaker down your veins until they make contact with your heart. The other ends of the leads attach to the generator of the pacemaker, which is placed in a pocket created beneath your skin.

The surgery to place a pacemaker typically takes from two to three hours.

When your pacemaker is operational, it will monitor your heart to determine if it is beating too slow. If it detects a slow heart beat, the pacemaker will emit a series of electrical impulses to bring your heart back up to a normal pace.

Cardiology Specialists Serving Fort Myers and Cape Coral

Are there risks to getting a pacemaker?

The surgery to have a pacemaker implanted is considered very safe and complications are rare. The following are some of the risks of having a pacemaker implanted:

  • Infection
  • Allergic reaction to medications
  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Swelling
  • Damage to veins
  • Bleeding around the heart
  • Blood leaking in heart at the site of leads

Cardiology Treatment Centers Near You

Technology & Expertise at Lee Health

Lee Health offers the most advanced and effective heart rhythm treatments to our patients. We have two fully equipped electrophysiology labs and one dedicated implant room, staffed by nurses and technicians who work exclusively on heart rhythm disorders.

The Cardiac Device Specialists are an important part of your care team and will be responsible for evaluating your implanted device at regular intervals and providing valuable information to your Cardiologist. We follow recommended guidelines by testing and evaluating your pacemaker function every 3 months either in the office or by remote transmissions from a home monitor.

We can also remotely monitor your pacemaker daily (Monday-Friday) so your Cardiologist can address any device or arrhythmia concerns between your routine device checks. *Remote monitoring is a diagnostic tool only and should never be used in emergencies. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 immediately

Our Cardiac Device Clinic team is available Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm at 239-343-6409 for any device related questions and for scheduling appointments to check your pacemaker.

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