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Feature Article

Cardiac pacemakers: keeping the beat

Gerry Kaye

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Abstract

Implantable pacemakers are the treatment of choice for patients with symptomatic bradycardia or high-grade atrioventricular block, allowing them to live near-normal lives. Technological advances include demand and rate-responsive pacing, which have improved battery longevity and exercise tolerance, and remote monitoring, which allows devices to be monitored in the patient’s own environment.

Key Points

  • Pacemakers are the treatment of choice for patients with symptomatic bradycardia or heart block.
  • Patients with pacemakers can live a near-normal life.
  • Battery life of pacemakers is approximately eight to 10 years.
  • Patients with any late swelling or persistent pain over the pacing generator require urgent referral to the local pacing unit.

    Picture credit: © Cane Medical Imaging/Getty.

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