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Permanent pacemaker

Location of pacemaker in upper-left chest, showing its lead through subclavian vein and into right ventricle

A pacemaker is a small, battery-powered device that sends out small electrical impulses to make the heart beat in a regular rhythm and at a normal speed. A pacemaker consists of a pulse generator and battery that create the electrical impulses. Most pacemakers have wires (leads) that transmit electricity to the heart. A pacemaker has one or more leads. A lead goes from the pacemaker through the subclavian vein and into a heart chamber, such as the right atrium or right ventricle. The end of the lead is in the heart chamber to stimulate the muscle.

A permanent pacemaker is typically placed under the skin of the chest. One type of permanent pacemaker is placed inside the heart. This type does not have leads.

Current as of: December 15, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Steven J. Atlas, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine

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This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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