by Editorial Staff and Contributors
This is a procedure to insert an artificial pacemaker. A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device. It helps maintain a normal heartbeat by sending electrical impulses to the heart.
Reasons for Procedure TOP
A pacemaker can be inserted when:
Possible Complications TOP
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review possible problems such as:
Your chances for problems are higher for:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
You may have:
Leading up to your procedure:
Local anesthesia is used to numb the area.
Description of the Procedure TOP
You will lie flat on a table. A small cut will be made beneath the collarbone. The pacemaker is placed through the cut. The wires (called leads) will be threaded through a vein from the collarbone to the heart. Lastly, the cut will be stitched closed.
Immediately After Procedure TOP
Your heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored.
How Long Will It Take? TOP
About 2 hours
How Much Will It Hurt? TOP
The anesthesia will prevent pain during the procedure. Medicines will help with pain afterward.
Post-procedure Care TOP
The pacemaker will be programmed to fit your pacing needs. Once everything is working properly and you have no problems, you can go home.
A hard ridge may form on the skin along the cut. This usually recedes as the wound heals.
Call Your Doctor TOP
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Heart Association
Heart Rhythm Society
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Pacemaker. American Heart Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated December 21, 2016. Accessed July 9, 2018.
Pacemaker insertion. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/cardiovascular/pacemaker_insertion_92,p07980. Accessed July 9, 2018.
Pacemakers. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T906162/Pacemakers. Updated January 11, 2018. Accessed July 9, 2018.
Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 7/9/2018
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