July 20, 2024

Out Of Rhythm: Can Pacemaker Implant in Singapore Prevent Stroke?

 

The idea of undergoing any surgical procedure can be nerve-wracking and it is absolutely normal to feel nervous and anxious towards it. Although the impulse to look for reasons to avoid or delay surgery may be strong for some people, it is important to remember that doctors recommend surgery if it is the only option to extend, improve the quality of, and in some cases, even save a person’s life. This includes getting implants, such as a pacemaker. A pacemaker  is a tiny, battery-powered equipment that is implanted into the chest through surgery so that it can send electric signals to keep the heartbeat at a regular pace. This is particularly useful for people who suffer from arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats. One of the most common questions that people ask is “Can a pacemaker implant prevent stroke?” (https://cadenceheart.sg/service/pacemakers-defibrillators/). Read this article to find out the answer and of course, learn more about the small-yet-powerful life-saving device.

This article will cover the following topics: 

  • How arrythmias affect the heart – and how a pacemaker can help
  • How the procedure works
  • Types of pacemakers
  • Who are pacemakers for

How arrythmias affect the heart – and how a pacemaker can help

Everyone knows that the heart is responsible for pumping blood, and that is what it actually does, but the process itself is much more complicated than we realize.  The pumping system of the heart is separately divided into two – the left side and the right side – and it has four separate chambers that pump blood (two on each side). When the heart functions normally, all four chambers work harmoniously to make sure that there is enough oxygen-rich blood flowing through the body. What is more interesting is that the heart has its own unique electrical system that manages how often it should beat (heart rate) and also coordinates the work of the four chambers (heart rhythm). Basically, the electrical impulses from the heart control the regular timing of each pump and adjust the rate at which it beats. The problem occurs when the heart beats in an irregular way – either too slow or too fast. It is called an arrhythmia, and this is exactly what a pacemaker tries to regulate.

A pacemaker is capable of sending electric impulses when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions. It can correct the rhythm and heart rate by creating and sending the proper electric signals. If a person experiences heart failure or the heart or there are certain parts of the heart that does not function normally, it is the pacemaker’s responsibility to send signals in order to prevent problems that may disrupt or endanger a person’s life.

How the procedure works

A pacemaker can be implanted by a cardiologist or surgeon who specializes in treating and managing heart-related issues and have received clinical training in dealing with pacemakers.

The patient is required to undergo a thorough assessment to ensure that they are fit for the surgery. Some of the tests included in the assessment are x-rays and blood tests, which can help identify the ideal form of pacemaker implant surgery to be performed.

Implant surgery can be epicardial or transvenous. An epicardial procedure starts win an incision in the area below the chest. The cardiologist then attaches the pacemaker near the heart’s outer surface called the epicardium. This is an open surgery process that requires general anesthesia. Transvenous implantation, on the other hand, is performed by creating a small incision on the left side of the chest area, near the collarbone. The pacemaker is placed just beneath the skin, and it is connected to the heart with a wire that traverses through a blood vessel. It may sound complicated, but it is actually a minimally-invasive procedure. The entire procedure takes an hour to complete and requires an overnight stay at the hospital. If the patient experiences no complication, they are sent home the following day.

Whether the process involves epicardial implantation or transvenous implantation, the pacemaker is tested as soon as it is placed to make sure that the device has no issues. Patients are expected to notify the medical team immediately if they feel anything unusual during the testing process so that the necessary changes can be applied.

 Types of pacemakers to choose from

There are three common types of pacemakers. The single-chamber pacemaker uses one lead – a thin wire that delivers electrical impulses from the pacemaker’s pulse generator to the heart – in the ventricles (lower chambers) or atria (upper chambers) of the heart. A dual-chamber pacemaker uses one lead in the right ventricle of the heart and another in the atria. Then there is a biventricular pacemaker that has three leads: one close to the left ventricle. One in the right ventricle and the last one in the right atrium. A biventricular pacemaker is also called a cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) device because it is commonly used for patients with arrythmia cased by advanced heart failure. The right and left ventricles of people with heart failure do not pump at the same time so a biventricular pacemaker is needed to coordinate the pumps from both ventricles. By coordination the pumps, the heart is able to pump blood in a more efficient manner, which also alleviate the symptoms of heart failure.

There is a fourth type of pacemaker called a leadless pacemaker. It is small pacemaker that is inserted into the body via a catheter and attached to the inner wall of the heart, which means no wire is needed.

Who are pacemakers for

Permanent pacemakers are used for heart rate and rhythm problems such as:

  • Heart block: a condition that occurs when the heart’s electric impulses are delayed or blocked.
  • Bradycardia: this happens when the heart beats too slowly due to a sinus node
  • Tachy-brady syndrome: a condition that is characterized by alternating slow and fast heartbeats.

Cardiac arrythmias may also be caused by an underlying health issue like coronary heart disease (heart malfunction due to a blockage or narrowing of arteries that supply blood to the heart), congenital heart defects, damage from a heart attack and/or presence of scar tissue in the heart muscle. There are certain medications that can alter the normal heart rhythm as well. And last but not the least, the changes brought about by natural aging process can affect the heart, too.

So, can a pacemaker implant prevent stroke?

According to studies, pacemakers can prevent strokes! As a matter of fact, one in four elderly Singaporeans who had a stroke could have mitigated the effects of the attack if only their underlying heart issues had been treated with a device like a pacemaker. 

If you want to know more about pacemakers, you can contact the Cadence Heart Centre in Singapore. Our doctors and staff will be more than happy to answer your questions about anything heart-related.

Cadence Heart Centre

Mt. Elizabeth Hospital, 3 Mount Elizabeth #14-13

Mt Elizabeth Medical Centre, Singapore 228510

 

https://cadenceheart.sg

 

Mobile: (65) 8318 9884

Phone: (65) 6369 8789

 

About The Author