Artificial Pacemaker


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Overview

The Artificial Pacemaker is a medical device that uses electrical impulses to modulate the heart beats. The main purpose is to regulate and maintain a regular heart rate because the body’s natural pacemaker is either too slow or has a block in the electrical system. This device can be placed either in the chest or the abdomen to help with the regulation of the natural heart beat. A pacemaker consist of two parts: the pulse generator, and leads. The pulse generator is a small metal container the size of a stopwatch which house a battery and the electrical circulatory that regulates the electrical pulse that are sent to the heart. Leads are the flexible, insulated wires that delivers the electrical impulses.

Development:

John Hopps developed the first external pace maker in 1950 when he developed an external device using a vacuum tube to provide trans cutaneous pacing, but it was considered bulky and hazardous. In 1957 engineer Earl Bakken produced the first wearable external pacemaker. The pacemaker had controls that allowed the user to adjust the pace of the heart with a remote. The first internal pacemaker was created in 1958 by Rune Elmqvist and inserted by Ake Senning. The device only worked for three hours until suregeons had to implant another one which only lasted 2 days more. The first patient of the Pacemaker, Arne Larsson, would receive 24 more pacemakers until his death in 2001.

Application/Implantation:

Before a pacemaker is placed doctors have to conduct several exams/test to ensure that a pacemaker is a necessity. The tests range from a painless EKG, Holter and event monitors, to a stress test. Each of these measure how much slow or fast the heart beat it and if, it is just a temporary condition due to stress or changes in the body.

However, if i pacemaker is needed insertions take minor surgery and often preformed within a patients hospital room. Each patient's procedure may vary but most commonly it takes place while you are still awake and takes about one to two hours to complete the minor surgery. In a worse case scenario an external procedure would have to be preformed and begins with anesthetics. After the patient is unconscious, a small tube, or catheter, is inserted into the neck or groin region. Wires are then place through the tube and are wired into the heart where surgeons may pin the wires to the heart. The wires are then plugged into the external pacemaker and are placed close to the patient’s bed side. Internal pacemakers are inserted differently. After the anesthetics have been given, surgeons cut a hole into the chest and create a small pocket to place the device just under the collarbone. Then surgeons thread the devices wires through the veins and into the right side of the heart. The wires are attached to the hearts inner wall using screws or tines.

After surgery the patient would usually stay in the hospital for one day after having the pacemaker implanted. Before leaving it would be programmed to fit the patients needs. After the device has been placed the patient’s vitals and x-rays are check to make sure the device is working properly.

Check Ups:

After a pacemaker is implanted it should be check periodically(every six months) to make sure the the device is preforming effectively. pacemaker checked via telephone every few months. You connect to a phone line with either a transmitter attached to wristbands on each of your arms or a wand placed over the pacemaker. These devices send pacemaker information to your doctor's office. A technician on the other end of the line checks your heart rate and rhythm and evaluates your pacemaker's function and remaining battery life. In these check ups the doctor will check the devices ability to detect intrinsic heart activity, measure the lead integrity and confirms that the minimum amount of energy required is being used.external image moz-screenshot.jpg

What to expect:

Pacemakers last five to ten years, which is the average battery life. When a pacemaker's battery wears out, the entire pacemaker's pulse generator is replaced, and you'll need another procedure to fix your device. The leads of your pacemaker can be left in place, and the procedure to change your pacemaker's battery is often quicker and requires less recovery time than the procedure to first implant your pacemaker.

Conclusion:

The artificial pacemaker has been around for over 50 years. Technology has allowed us to advance tremendously int he field of medicine. Today engineers are find ways for creating longer lasting batteries and a way to develop a and replace the actual pacemaker located in our bodies now. With these advances in technology, artificial pacemakers are changing the lives of thousands every year.

Related Terminology:
Bilological Pacemaker
Cardiology
Pacemaker Syndrom

Citations/References:
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/pace/pace_whatis.html
http://www.biomaterials.org/SIGS/Cardiovascular/index.cfm?content=pacemaker
http://biomed.brown.edu/Courses/BI108/BI108_2008_Groups/group10/pacemaker.html
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pacemaker/MY00276/DSECTION=why-its-done


Graphics:
This Diagram shows where the pacemaker is located and how the wires are threaded throught the vains
This Diagram shows where the pacemaker is located and how the wires are threaded throught the vains