Pacemakers Who Needs Them

Pacemakers are used to treat certain types of arrhythmias, as well as heart failure, a condition that occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body. Not everyone with an arrhythmia needs a pacemaker.

How the heart’s electrical system controls your heartbeat and what can lead to heart problems that require a pacemaker. Medical Animation Copyright © 2020 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.

Pacemaker for arrhythmias

The most common reason people get a pacemaker is their heart beats too slowly (called bradycardia), or it pauses, causing fainting spells or other symptoms. In some cases, the pacemaker may also be used to prevent or treat a heartbeat that is too fast (tachycardia) or irregular.

These problems may be caused by: 

  • Problems with electrical signaling in your heart 
  • Beta blockers, which are medicines to lower blood pressure but also can slow your heartbeat too much. A pacemaker helps prevent a slow heartbeat when you need to keep taking this medicine. 
  • Certain congenital heart defects 
  • Heart attack
  • Heart transplant

Pacemakers for a weak heart

Pacemakers may also be used to help your heart chambers beat in sync if your heart isn’t pumping enough blood to your body. This can happen because of: 

  • Certain congenital heart defects 
  • Enlarged or thick heart muscle that makes it harder to pump blood out of your ventricles. Learn more in the Cardiomyopathy Health Topic. 
  • Heart attack 
  • Heart failure
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