Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Pacemaker
A pacemaker is a small, battery-powered device that sends out small
electrical impulses to make the heart muscle to contract. The pacemaker itself
is a waterproof object about the size of a silver dollar. A pacemaker consists
of a pulse generator and battery that create the electrical impulses, and wires
(leads) that transmit electricity to the heart.
Pacemakers help your heart beat in a regular rhythm and at a normal
speed. They are inserted to treat a heart rate that is too slow, too fast, or
Pacemakers are typically placed under the skin of the chest. These
pacemakers are permanent. But sometimes, pacemakers are needed for only a short
time to help a person in the hospital with heart rhythm problems. A temporary
pacemaker is not surgically inserted but is worn outside the body. Temporary
pacemakers are used only while a person is in the hospital.
Current as of:
January 27, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.