The average human heart beats between 70 and 100 times each minute. Inside the heart, a natural electrical system regulates each beat, controlling the contraction of the muscles that pump blood through the heart and body. If the heart’s internal electrical system fails to work properly, a manmade pacemaker can be implanted during a short vascular surgery procedure to regulate the heartbeat mechanically.
Resetting the Heart Rate
Pacemaker devices are most commonly used to treat a heart condition called bradycardia. This condition is often caused by age-related wear and tear on the heart muscle, as well as conditions such as sick sinus syndrome and heart block, which affect the function of the heart’s electrical cells. In individuals with bradycardia, the heartbeat slows to an unhealthy rate, affecting blood circulation and the essential delivery of oxygen to the cells throughout the body. When the heart rate slows too much, a pacemaker can be used to reset the rhythm of the heart to a faster, healthier pace.
Regulating the Heart Rate
Patients with atrial fibrillation experience rapid, irregular heartbeats. This is because the electrical signals that tell the heart when to beat are not produced in the correct location, causing the upper chambers of the heart to beat out of sync. Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of heart arrhythmia, and is often treated via medication. However, medications used to control atrial fibrillation may lead to slow heart rhythms, which are then treated using a pacemaker.
Resynchronizing the Heart Rate
Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart becomes less effective at pumping blood. This can affect circulation and blood oxygenation, which in turn affect general health. Pacemakers can be used to treat patients with congestive heart failure by forcing the heart to contract; this is often called resynchronization therapy.
A pacemaker could improve your heart health and physical health to reduce your risk for serious concerns related to an unhealthy heart rate or rhythm. You can learn more about pacemakers and other treatment options for heart conditions in Phoenix by calling Cardiac Solutions at (623) 876-8816.