How Long Does A Pacemaker Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 8 to 10 years

A pacemaker, also better known as a cardiac pacing device, is a tiny machine that helps to control the heartbeat. The objective of using a pacemaker is to avoid the human heart from thumping too slowly. The pacemaker is placed or implanted in the chest through cardiac surgery.

There are three main types of pacemakers. These are the single chamber pacemaker, the dual-chamber pacemaker, and the biventricular pacemaker. Each of these pacemakers differs in their function but produces the common result of keeping the heart in a healthy position.

How Long Does A Pacemaker Last

How Long Does A Pacemaker Last?

Timeframe Of Pacemaker’s LifeLasts For
Average Period8 to 10 years
Maximum Period13 to 15 years

The pacemaker generally uses a battery to keep supporting the heart. The battery keeps the pacemaker running and the person fit. Thus, the life of the pacemaker is directly dependent on the life of the battery.

Apart from keeping the heart running at a steady rate, the pacemaker also performs several associated functions. These include sending regular updates to the doctor regarding its functioning and the battery left of the pacemaker. This decreases the need for a visit to the doctor.

The pacemaker regularly updates the doctor concerning the heart rate and the rhythm of the patient. With these functions in place, the patient does not need to visit the healthcare workers frequently. There is no need for a visit as their health could be assessed remotely from any corner of the world.

Thus, health care workers are always in the loop regarding the duration for which the pacemaker will continue to function. On average, the pacemaker lasts for a period of 8 to 10 years. However, some pacemakers can go on to last for about 13 to 15 years.

Since the doctor is well aware of when the pacemaker will stop working, they would be better prepared to manage the situation. Once the battery of the pacemaker dies, a surgery has to be performed requiring the removal of the dead pacemaker and replacing it with a good condition device. This continues till the person is alive or the doctors say that the person no longer requires till the pacemaker.

Why Does A Pacemaker Last So Long?

The life of the Pacemaker is primarily affected by the battery of the same. There is a direct relationship between the two. However, the life of the battery is in turn affected by certain other factors.

A normal pacemaker has an average life of about 0.5 Ah to 2 Ah. The current from the pacemaker is instrumental to be used in the pacing of the heart. Apart from that, it is also used to measure various variants and implement algorithms for switching the modes of pacemakers.

Moreover, the rate at which the current from the battery of the pacemaker is determined by a plethora of other factors. These include the rate of pacing, the width of the pulse, and the programmed voltage. The percentage of pacing and the lead impedance are some other factors in this regard.

Lead impedance is a crucial factor affecting the use of current of the battery. If the leads are of high impedance, they would have a very small diameter electrode which is a significant consideration in increasing the current density. Moreover, the surface of the electrode is also made permeable to facilitate the maximization of the lead tissue interface while minimizing the Hemholtz current.

If the pacemaker has design features like auto-capture, it will perform better and increase the life of the pacemaker substantially. It is because, with better performance, there would be a decrease in the use of current, thereby preserving it for longer periods. When the current of the battery will be preserved, it will help the pacemaker to be used for a longer period.

Conclusion

A pacemaker is of tremendous importance to the patients of heart health. It helps to control the heart rate and plays a great role in keeping it steady. It is implanted in the body with the help of surgery and lasts till its battery supports.

The pacemaker generally lasts for 8 to 10 years. Although it may be noted that with a good lifestyle, a good quality pacemaker can last on for 13 to 15 years.

References

  1. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.ph.55.030193.002323?journalCode=physiol
  2. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/abs/10.7326/0003-4819-103-3-420
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