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What are the pros and cons of a pacemaker for atrial fibrillation?

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Your doctor can program your pacemaker to meet your needs. It should keep your heart in rhythm and help you stay more active. The surgery to put in the device is safe, but there are some risks, such as:

  • Bleeding or bruising in the area where your doctor places the pacemaker
  • Infection
  • Damaged blood vessel
  • Collapsed lung
  • If there are problems with the device, you may need another surgery to fix it.

Sometimes the impulses your pacemaker sends to your heart can cause discomfort. You may be dizzy, or feel a throbbing in your neck. Once you have one put in, you might have to keep your distance from objects that give off a strong magnetic field, because they could affect the electrical signals from your pacemaker.

SOURCES:

AHRQ: "Radiofrequency Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation: A Guide for Adults."

American Heart Association: "Non-surgical procedures for atrial fibrillation," "What is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib or AF)?"

Cleveland Clinic: "Pulmonary vein isolation ablation."

Haegeli, Laurent M. European Heart Journal, July 2014.

January, Craig T. Circulation, 2014.

Massachusetts General Hospital: "Catheter Ablation for the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation."

Mount Sinai St. Luke's: "A patient guide to atrial fibrillation and catheter ablation."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "How Does a Pacemaker Work?" "How Will a Pacemaker Affect My Lifestyle?" "What are the Risks of Pacemaker Surgery?" "What to Expect During Pacemaker Surgery."

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons: "HRS/EHRA/ECAS Expert Consensus Statement on Catheter and Surgical Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation: Recommendations for Personnel, Policy, Procedures, and Follow-Up."

The University of Chicago Medicine: "Surgical Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation."

Reviewed by James Beckerman on December 4, 2019

SOURCES:

AHRQ: "Radiofrequency Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation: A Guide for Adults."

American Heart Association: "Non-surgical procedures for atrial fibrillation," "What is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib or AF)?"

Cleveland Clinic: "Pulmonary vein isolation ablation."

Haegeli, Laurent M. European Heart Journal, July 2014.

January, Craig T. Circulation, 2014.

Massachusetts General Hospital: "Catheter Ablation for the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation."

Mount Sinai St. Luke's: "A patient guide to atrial fibrillation and catheter ablation."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "How Does a Pacemaker Work?" "How Will a Pacemaker Affect My Lifestyle?" "What are the Risks of Pacemaker Surgery?" "What to Expect During Pacemaker Surgery."

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons: "HRS/EHRA/ECAS Expert Consensus Statement on Catheter and Surgical Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation: Recommendations for Personnel, Policy, Procedures, and Follow-Up."

The University of Chicago Medicine: "Surgical Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation."

Reviewed by James Beckerman on December 4, 2019

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What are the cons of a pacemaker for atrial fibrillation?

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