Artificial Pacemaker

Topics: Artificial pacemaker, Cardiology, Magnetic resonance imaging Pages: 2 (507 words) Published: March 31, 2005
Pacemaker

The human heart is an essential organ of the human body. Its sole purpose is to supply the body with oxygen by pumping blood through a complex system of veins and arteries. However, it is often common for the human heart to suffer from various heart conditions, such as a heart block, slow heart beat, heart attack or heart failure. Such heart conditions can lead to weakness, fainting, shortness of breath, or even possibly death. These can usually be treated with medication but in cases where medication is not sufficient, doctors turn to the implantable pacemaker for the solution.

The pacemaker is a battery-powered, implantable device, which electronically stimulates the heart to contract and thus pump blood throughout the body. It consists of three parts, the generator, leads and electrodes. The generator supplies power to the pacemaker via lithium batteries, which typically last 5-10 years. The generator generates the electric impulses that correct the slow heartbeat. Connected to the generator are a series of platinum leads, insulated with a coating of silicone or polyurethane. The leads are responsible for carrying the electric impulses from the generator. Lastly, at the tip of each lead lies a tiny electrode that delivers the necessary electrical impulse to the heart. There are several types of pacemakers, such as demand pacemakers, fixed-rate pacemakers and rate-responsive pacemakers. Demand pacemakers constantly monitor the patient's heart rate and only deliver an electric impulse when needed, such as when the heart skips a beat or falls below a programmed minimum. Fixed-rate pacemakers constantly discharge at a regular rate, regardless of the patient's heart rate. Rate-responsive pacemakers monitor other physical discharges or the body, such as respiration, and change the discharge rate accordingly. The ranges of pacemakers are available to patients to give them a choice of which they would prefer or which would best suit their condition....
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