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​​A permanent pacemaker is a battery-operated device that is placed under the skin, usually in the left upper chest.  Small wires connect the pacemaker to the heart.  The device is approximately the size of a half-dollar and about 1/2 inch in thickness.  The pacemaker is able to sense your heart's rate and the time between beats.  If your heartbeat is not regular or is too slow, the pacemaker sends a small amount of electricity to the heart to speed up the heart or make it beat more regularly.  The insertion, which usually takes about 2 hours, is performed in a special room in the Heart Center.

Before The Test

  • You will be asked to sign a consent form after your doctor has explained the procedure and the risks to you. 
  • Most patients are not allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight prior to the surgery.  Please ask your nurse. 
  • You may be asked to remove dentures, glasses, and jewelry, and to wear a hospital gown. 
  • You will need to empty your bladder before you go for the procedure. 
  • Tell your doctor or nurse if you are allergic to iodine, x-ray dye, or other medications. 
  • You may be given some medicine to help you relax.  You will not be put to sleep; you will be awake, but drowsy.

During The Test

  • You will be lying on a hard table surrounded by x-ray equipment and will be connected to a heart monitor. 
  • A numbing medicine will be given. 
  • The permanent pacemaker will be inserted just under the skin through a small incision. 
  • Your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing will be monitored.

Immediately After The Test

  • You will probably be returned to your same room. 
  • Your heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored. 
  • You will be able to eat and/or drink as soon as you are awake. 
  • Before you go home, you will be given information regarding your device​​ and follow-up care from the nurses in the pacemaker lab.