A pacemaker is a gadget that transmits tiny electrical impulses to your heart muscle to maintain a suitable heart rate. It can also stimulate the ventricles, which are the lower chambers of the heart. Pacemakers are used to treat bradyarrhythmias, slow heart rhythms that happen because of disease in the heart’s conduction system, such as the SA node, AV node or His-Purkinje network. They are used to treat unexplained fainting spells or syncope, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and heart failure.
If you have a condition called tachycardia, i.e. a fast heartbeat, you may need an implantable heart device called an ICD. ICDs are useful in preventing sudden death to patients with known, sustained ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation.
An ICD monitors your heart rhythm all day. If your heart is beating too fast or irregularly, the device will first send small painless electrical signals to correct your heart rate. If the fast heart rate continues, the defibrillator will deliver a shock to make your heart rate normal.
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