Recent Blog Articles

Heart Health

Keeping the heart in the right rhythm

February 23, 2016

Implantable cardiac pacemakers help millions of people live longer and feel better.

Over the past several decades, permanent cardiac pacemakers have become a lifesaving staple of cardiovascular care. These tiny electronic devices consist of a miniature computer that is inserted under the skin of the chest. The unit sends impulses through wires (called leads) that stimulate the heart muscle to beat at regular intervals.

"There are many indications for getting a pacemaker, but nearly all involve correcting a slow heart rhythm or helping the heart to beat more efficiently," says Dr. Peter Zimetbaum, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "In some situations, a pacemaker is needed in order to prevent death. In other cases, the device is used to improve overall heart function, which in turn also improves quality of life."

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.