Sometimes the pathway in the heart’s electrical system is interrupted, which causes changes in heart rate and rhythm. A slow heartbeat can occur because the sinus node, the natural “battery” of the heart, is slow. Other times electrical conduction between the upper and lower chambers of the heart is disrupted.
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When this happens, the heart is sometimes incapable of making necessary increases in your heart rate in response to activity. Or the changes occur inappropriately. When this happens, a pacemaker implant may help.
A pacemaker is a device implanted under the skin, sending small electrical impulses to the heart muscle to maintain a suitable heart rate or to stimulate the lower chambers of the heart, explains Walid Saliba, MD, Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Electrophysiology Lab and Co-Director of the Ventricular Arrhythmia Center. In this white board session, Dr. Saliba also describes how to customize pacemakers based on a patient’s lifestyle, activity level and symptoms.