To say that your heart is a busy organ would be a gross understatement. Not only does your heart beat 100,000 times a day (about 35 million times a year), it circulates the entirety of your blood three times every minute. Going a little further with these fascinating statistics, your blood goes on a 12,000-mile journey each day to deliver much-needed oxygen and nutrients to your body.
When something goes wrong with your heart and it isn’t beating regularly, we can often solve the problem with a pacemaker. The team here at Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists has extensive experience with these life-saving devices, and we understand when a pacemaker can play a critical role in your cardiovascular health.
To help you better understand this role, we’ve pulled together the following list of heart conditions that can benefit from a pacemaker.
Pacemakers are implantable devices that regulate your heartbeats, which means they are the go-to tool for treating potentially dangerous arrhythmias. An arrhythmia is a catch-all term for problems with your heartbeat, which include:
These types of arrhythmia occur when the upper chambers of your heart (your atrium) beat too fast (tachycardia) or irregularly. There are several forms of supraventricular arrhythmias, including:
- Atrial fibrillation — your heart can race at more than 400 beats per minute
- Atrial flutter — your upper and lower chambers beat at different rates
- Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) — extra heartbeats
Your heartbeat is created by an electrical signal emitted by your sinoatrial node. If this signaling comes too early, it creates an extra, smaller heartbeat. This problem can cause other arrhythmias to develop.
This type of arrhythmia starts in the lower chambers of your heart, or your ventricles. This condition is potentially very dangerous as the tachycardia in your ventricles can lead to ventricular fibrillation, which is when your ventricles cease to deliver blood to your body.
Arrhythmias, in general, develop for any number of reasons, including congestive heart failure and damage to your heart that interrupts the electrical signaling.
The role of a pacemaker
Some of the arrhythmias we describe above may not be cause for too much concern, such as PSVT, which is usually short-lived and occurs mostly in younger people who engage in vigorous exercise.
Ongoing problems with arrhythmias, however, can pose a serious threat to your health, which is where a pacemaker comes in. When we implant a pacemaker, it delivers electrical signals that regulate your heartbeat.
Most pacemakers have sensor modes, so they only operate when your heartbeat is irregular, which allows your heart to function as normally as possible outside an arrhythmic episode.
If you’d like to learn more about pacemakers and the role they can play in keeping your heart beating properly, please don’t hesitate to contact our office in Mountain View, California, to set up an appointment.