Surgery, implantation and autonomy of a pacemaker – Magoda – Manufacturing America
A pacemaker is a small, implantable medical device used to treat bradycardia, which is a slow heartbeat. These devices are vital for people who have suffered a heart attack, complications from medications, or other health conditions that interfere with the heart’s ability to pump blood at an adequate rate.
For people with a chronic illness or an irregular heartbeat due to needed medication, a permanent pacemaker is implanted to help regulate the heart rate using electrical signals. A temporary pacemaker can be used as part of temporary cardiac pacing treatment for acute conditions, such as myocardial infections and extreme bradyarrhythmia in the elderly.
There are different types of pacemakers, which regulate the heart at different points. A single-chamber pacemaker will send electrical signals to the right ventricle. A dual-chamber pacemaker will transmit electrical impulses to the right ventricle and the atrium, which helps control the contraction intervals between these two chambers.
A biventricular pacemaker is used in cardiac resynchronization therapy to simulate the right and left ventricles. Regardless of type, most pacemakers have a pulse generator and leads as their main components. The pulse generator retains the pacemaker battery and the circuitry that controls the electrical impulses, which are delivered through the leads.
Leads are insulated wires that connect directly to one or more chambers of the heart, although some more advanced pacemakers bypass this component by direct implantation into the heart muscle. Additional sensors can be incorporated to detect breathing rate or motion. The feedback is then used to regulate heart rate based on activity.
Pacemaker implantation takes a few hours and is usually performed while the patient is conscious but sedated and numbed with local anesthetic. This procedure is simplified with lead-free pacemakers. Lead-free pacemaker placement is performed through a catheter and is less invasive than standard pacemaker surgery. Once implanted, the pacemaker is programmed according to the demands of the heart rhythm.
Pacemakers are sophisticated electrical devices that are manufactured to complex and exacting medical standards. Although they are very durable and unlikely to be significantly affected by electrical interference, wearers of pacemakers are advised to take special precautions. Certain diagnostic and medical treatments can interfere with pacemakers, and pacemakers can cause complications.
This includes MRIs, CT scans, radiation therapy, electrocautery, and shock wave lithotripsy, among others. Pacemakers can trigger alarm systems in metal detectors. Talking on a cell phone should not create a problem, but devices should be kept at least six inches from the location of the pacemaker. This means that cell phones and similar devices should not be carried in a shirt pocket or held close to the chest for long periods of time.
If patients work near high-powered electrical equipment, such as transformers and generators, doctors should arrange a test to determine how this equipment affects pacemaker performance. Most modern pacemakers will automatically adapt to physical activity and enable patients to lead active lives, but the device will need to be checked periodically to ensure it is working as it should.
Feeling tired, dizzy, swollen ankles and weight gain could indicate a problem. The life of the pacemaker battery varies between five and 15 years and replacing it will require medical intervention, but less invasive than the initial insertion of the pacemaker.
Advances in Pacemaker Battery Technology
Improvements in pacemaker battery technology may provide a much simpler treatment for people with bradycardia. This also applies to others with battery-powered medical implants, including deep brain stimulation devices, drug delivery microchips, and neurologically controlled prostheses.
Researchers looked for better ways to power these devices and extend the life of implanted batteries or eliminate the need for them altogether. Glucose fuel cells are one possibility. They are energy cells that convert the glucose naturally present in the body into electrical energy.
The technology is not new, but the challenge of reducing the materials needed to create an ultra-small glucose-powered pacemaker battery is still there. If this technology could be made commercially viable, it would be possible to create pacemakers that never needed battery replacement.
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