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How Long Does Pacemaker Surgery Take?

Pacemaker surgery is one of the procedures we provide patients at OneWelbeck Heart Health.

While it is a device which can vastly improve the quality of life in the long-term, not many people know that pacemaker surgery is a relatively simple procedure with tremendous results for any patient’s quality of life.

Here is some information about how quickly someone can expect this type of surgery to be, as well as related information regarding pacemaker surgery and recovery.

How long does pacemaker surgery take?

On average, pacemaker surgery takes around one hour. With it being a small implant, a consultant cardiologist can place one under the skin to have it wired up and working quite quickly.

With it being a short operation, is the patient awake?

It will all depend on the patient’s circumstances, but in the majority of cases, pacemakers are installed while a patient is under local anaesthetic and awake.

How long does a patient need to recover after surgery?

Even though the surgery takes place in an important area, because it is not as invasive as you’d think, someone would expect to feel fine quite quickly.

A consultant will lay out how they want a patient to recover, so it is expected that strenuous activities are ruled out for at least four weeks after being fitted.

What does a pacemaker do, and why would someone need one?

A pacemaker is an implantable electrical device, which usually sits under the left collar bone (although it can sit under the right in certain circumstances)

It is inserted in patients who have underlying arrhythmias – usually an abnormally slow heart rate. This can be due to previous heart attacks, heart failure or cardiomyopathies.

Pacemakers will have a threshold of which they can override the heart’s intrinsic rhythm/rate.

They can also have a dual function and act as a defibrillator, in which it will deliver a shock to the heart in circumstances where the rhythm would be deemed life-threatening.

Is pacemaker surgery dangerous?

The surgery carries some risk but is not as dangerous as more intensive surgery.

What happens during pacemaker surgery?

One of the reasons pacemaker surgery is so quick is because it requires only a few simple actions.

Once a patient has an incision made below the collar bone, the device simply gets inserted and tested to ensure it is working (you’ll sometimes hear this called pacing). When the surgeon is happy that the device works, it is connected, and that is virtually everything done.

Will a patient experience any pain afterwards?

Discomfort and some bruising are common considering the area worked on, but this should pass by after a few days.

Should a patient expect any restrictions to lifestyle after the procedure?

No. A patient should feel the benefits after a few weeks.

One important thing to remember is that the patient will want to avoid raising their affected arm for at least a month. That means no lifting the arm adjacent to the pacemaker.

A patient will also want to keep arms mobile and following simple movements they’ll be advised will help the most.

Get in touch

Want to talk with someone about having a pacemaker fitted, or similar cardiology procedures to improve heart health?

If you have any questions about this procedure, the team at One Welbeck Heart Health will be happy to discuss options with you.

You can get in touch with us here.