Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Heart Block Third Degree Pacemaker

A person with a third degree heart block may need treatment with a pacemaker. Pacemakers are electronic devices that regulate the heart rate within a normal range.

Pacemakers require an electrical wire inserted into the heart, which is connected to an electronic device that generates electrical impulses that stimulate the heart. Most pacemakers are placed under the skin.

Pacemaker Functions
Pacemakers do two things:

  • They sense the electrical signals from a normal heartbeat. As long as the heart is beating fast enough, nothing else happens.
  • The pacemaker sends a tiny electrical impulse to stimulate the heart to beat when the heart is beating too slowly.

Some pacemakers can shock the heart when a dangerous rhythm occurs. These are called implantable defibrillators.

Pacemaker Care
Home care includes:
  • Wear a Medic Alert bracelet, showing that you have a pacemaker.
  • Take acetaminophen for pain.
  • Magnets should be kept away from the chest.
  • The metal in a pacemaker may set off metal detectors in airport and other security stations. Always keep your pacemaker wallet card with you.

Pacemaker Warning Signs
If you have a pacemaker, call your doctor for:

Continue to Heart Block Third Degree Specialist

Last Updated: Nov 5, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Heart Block Third Degree References
  1. Bevilacqua LM, Berul CI. Advances in pediatric electrophysiology. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2004 Oct;16(5):494-9. [15367841]
  2. Liautaud S, Khan AJ, Nalamasu SR, Tan IJ, Onwuanyi AE. Variable atrioventricular block in systemic lupus erythematosus. Clin Rheumatol. 2005 Apr;24(2):162-5. [15517446]
  3. Manfredini R, Gallerani M, Boari B, Maraldi C, la Cecilia O, Rafael Ferreira AB, Smolensky MH, Portaluppi F. Morning preference in onset of symptomatic third-degree atrioventricular heart block. Chronobiol Int. 2002 Jul;19(4):785-91. [12182503]
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