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A pacemaker is a small device with one or more leads, which sends electrical impulses to the heart to help it produce a regular heart beat. Implanting a pacemaker is a common minor surgical procedure.
The fitting of a pacemaker is one of the most common types of heart surgery in the UK with more than 40,000 people in England having a device implanted in 2012/13. (source: NHS)
You might need a pacemaker if you suffer from bradycardia (a slow heart rate), heart block or heart failure.
Heart block, which causes your heart to beat more slowly, occurs when there is disruption to the electrical pulses that control your heart rate. Symptoms can include palpitations (an irregular heartbeat), fainting and shortness of breath. (source: NHS).
A pacemaker will last around 5-10 years before it may need to be replaced.
We understand that your heart is in our hands. There is no greater trust and we take caring for you very seriously.
All our consultant cardiac surgeons and cardiologists are at the top of their profession. To work for us, they have to demonstrate their expertise in complex cardiac surgery and their chosen sub-speciality. A number of our expert consultants also have international reputations in their specialised fields.
They have access to some of the latest generation cardiology equipment so they can fully treat your condition.
Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.
All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-speciality surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
We will discuss with you if they feel any further tests such as an electrocardiogram or holter monitoring are needed, if there are any other treatment pathways to consider that might be an option or if you can be booked straight in for a procedure.
We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.
For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.
Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
We understand that having surgery can potentially be a time of anxiety and worry. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you, holding your hand, every step of the way.
A pacemaker is usually implanted under local anaesthetic, which means you will be awake but the area around the incision site will be numb. The procedure typically takes about an hour.
The surgeon will insert the device under the skin, after making a cut just below your collar bone. He or she will place the leads into your heart through a vein, using an X-ray machine to guide them. The other ends of the leads are connected to the pacemaker, which generates an electrical pulse.
You may need to stay in hospital overnight after having your pacemaker fitted.
After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.
You might feel sore from the incision site and may need to take over-the-counter pain relief for any discomfort. Your doctor will advise what are the safest pain relievers for you.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
You can usually quickly resume normal activities although you should avoid strenuous physical activity for a few months.
Once you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive for a few days.
Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way.
Typically your consultant will want to see you after your treatment to see how you’re doing.
On rare occasions, complications following pacemaker implantation can occur. We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery, we're here to help.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
A fixed price for this treatment may be available on enquiry and following an initial consultation.
You can trust Spire Bristol Hospital to provide you with a single, fixed price* so there are no surprises. And, through our carefully chosen partner you can even be considered for interest free finance.
We’re here to help you with making these important choices, so you’re then free to concentrate on your treatment and on getting back to being you.
Important: Please read Spire’s terms and conditions for full details of what’s included and excluded in your fixed price* when paying for yourself.
* Zebra Finance Ltd trading as Zebra Health Finance , Lincoln House, Stephensons Way, Wyvern Business Park, Derby, DE21 6LY.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.