Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Sick Sinus Syndrome Pacemaker

Some people with sick sinus syndrome require 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
All 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. Keep your pacemaker wallet card with you at all times.

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

Continue to Sick Sinus Syndrome 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 Sick Sinus Syndrome References
  1. Adan V, Crown LA. Diagnosis and treatment of sick sinus syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Apr 15;67(8):1725-32. [12725451]
  2. Albertsen AE, Nielsen JC. Selecting the appropriate pacing mode for patients with sick sinus syndrome: evidence from randomized clinical trials. Card Electrophysiol Rev. 2003 Dec;7(4):406-10. [15071265]
  3. Seifer C, Kenny RA. The prevalence of falls in older persons paced for atrioventricular block and sick sinus syndrome. Am J Geriatr Cardiol. 2003 Sep-Oct;12(5):298-301. [12963855]
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