What is a pacemaker?


When JR’s heart started failing him again,(JR is an assumed name) his cardiologist ordered a pacemaker to be scheduled for an implant.  So, just what is a pacemaker?

A pacemakeris a medical device that uses electrical impulses to regulate the beating of the heart.

Until more recent years, Hospice was generally called in when a person’s heart slowed to only a 20% ejection factor.  That was before the advent of the pacemaker in the mid-1980’s.

Since then, medicine has advanced by leaps and bounds.   The wars have given so much opportunity for science to  develope sophisticated appliances and medical devices due to war injuries and continual advancement in the world of computers

Great inventive break-throughs with computers and longlasting batteries have made the pacemaker a commonplace device to be used for patients with heart problems that can be helped through electrical stimulus.

Long lasting batteries make replacement of batteries only necessary every 10-12 years.

JR’s doctor visit in 2014 determined that his heart had again slowed down to 20% ejection factor.  JR’s heart had failed him eight years before and only through the Lord’s mercy and miracle heart drugs was he saved. Read his miraculous story HERE

With the low 20% ejection factor of JR’s heart, Dr “C” (C for cardiologist) elected to install a 3 wire pacemaker because JR’s heart was slowing down again.  This often happens as people age who have heart trouble.  The pacemaker would cause JR’s heart to beat if it forgot to beat, or if it stopped, the pacer would jumpstart his heart through electrical impulses to cause it to continue to beat.

Implanting the Pacemaker

Everything went well until the 3rd wire was beginning to be implanted.  The problem was, everywhere that Dr. C tried to hang that third wire, JR got the hiccups.  His heart was full of scar tissue and everywhere that Dr. C tried to attach or hang that third wire he would start hiccuping again.  The scar tissue was a result of “his heart attack.”

That simply would not do.  It seemed that the only option was to try to hang the 3rd wire on the outside of JR’s heart, hoping of course, that the scar tissue didn’t go that far. This required a surgeon.  Dr. C had to speak with  a heart surgeon to inquire if this was even possible.

The doctor had to hang the wire on the outside of JR’s heart.

JR had had a heart attack?  “Why didn’t you tell us he had a heart attack?” they asked his wife.  She replied something like this “Well You are the Dr.  Why didn’t you tell me?”

Immediately, Dr. C came to JR’s wife Mia,  (assumed name) to inform her of the problem.  He also told her that it was because of JR’s heart attack that there was scar tissue inside his heart and nowhere to hang the third wire. He asked why JR hadn’t told him JR had a heart attack? They probably wouldn’t have even attempted implanting a pacemaker had they known JR had had a heart attack.  What were the warning signs of a heart attack?

This was news to Mia.  A heart attack?  When did JR have a heart attack? Dr. C. assured Mia that JR had had one.  The scar tissue proved it.

Now we don’t often get to look at the inside of our body, so how would you really know if you had a heart attack unless you had PAIN.  Oh, the pain, when JR’s heart nearly stopped 8 years before. But that wasn’t in the heart.  Those were leg pains.  Read about JR’s leg pain HERE

Dr. C. wanted to find out who did JR’s heart bypass surgery 8 years previously.  She remembered Dr. “T” as being his surgeon.

Dr. C then contacted Dr. T to consult with him on the issue.  They determined they would have a good possibility of hanging the third wire on the outside of the heart, and so they scheduled the surgery for the following morning.

What exactly does a three-wire pacemaker do?

In layman’s terms, the pacemaker can restart the heart, if it stops, or simply cause it to beat if it fails to beat or gets out of sync.

They had to put a “garden hose” in his side for drainage as well as make another hole to manipulate the 3rd wire through.  In addition, they had to separate a couple of ribs so they could get to the heart to attach the wire(s).  However, Dr ” T” decided for good measure he would put in a fourth wire.  Just in case the third wire failed, JR would have a backup.  JR is one of the very few people with a backup wire for his 3-wire pacemaker.

The three-wire pacemaker will jolt you if your heart stops beating.  I’ve heard that sometimes people with a 3-wire pacer will often have a car accident if they are driving when they get jolted because it jerks the body so much.  I imagine it doing something like when they use the paddles on you in the hospital; it causes you to jerk.  Not having one of those type pacemakers, I can’t say for sure.

Having a 4 wire pacemaker means that there is one wire hanging loose inside JR’sbody.  The Dr informed JR that the only drawback is that he can never have an MRI with a wire hanging loose in his body.  CT scans are OK but not an MRI.

Thank you for reading my post.  Please leave your experience and/or comments below.

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DISCLAIMER: Not being a health care provider, my information is merely personal knowledge and info gained through personal family experience.  Always consult a professional healthcare provider for technical information as relating to your health.



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