Saturday, June 2, 2012

How does a Pacemaker Work?

            The heart is one of the most vital organs in our body. It is an involuntary muscle, i.e., it is not controlled by our will. The heart functions automatically and does not need any instructions from our brain. Sometimes, the heart gets instructions that change the speed of its beating. The heart can beat faster or slower. These messages come from special nerve signals. They can also come from specific hormones carried in the blood. The pacemaker controls the continuous and regular beating of the heart. The pacemaker lies between the two atria. It is a small group of muscle cells that send our regular electrical signals. These signals make the heart beat regularly, that is, about 70-80 times a minute in a healthy adult.

Pacemaker

            Certain heart diseases can hamper this natural pacemaker. When this happens, doctors insert an artificial pacemaker in the body of the patient. An artificial pacemaker is a battery powered electronic device, which keeps the heartbeat regular by giving regular electrical signals.

            Some artificial pacemaker is implanted in the chest, while others are small enough to be passed along a vein to the heart. The simplest pacemakers keep the heartbeat at a steady rate of 70 beats per minute.

            But sometimes it is possible to get to the person’s own nervous system to control the pacemaker. In such cases, the heart is still capable of beating faster or slower according to the needs of the body. A battery powered pacemaker can work up to 15 years with a single battery. With the help of a pacemaker, one ca leads a normal life. The expenditure of fitting a pacemaker comes to be around Rs. 1.5 lakhs.

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