Does Getting a Pacemaker Cure Atrial Fibrillation?


Quick Answer

Getting a pacemaker can cure individual bouts of intermittent atrial fibrillation, but it doesn't cure the underlying condition, so the heart may still have a tendency to start fibrillating, according to WebMD. Pacemakers cure atrial fibrillation by resetting the heart when it beats irregularly, returning it to normal rhythm.

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Full Answer

People who have intermittent atrial fibrillation often suffer from tachy-brady syndrome, explains WebMD. This means that the heart alternates between an abnormally fast rhythm, or fibrillation, and an abnormally slow rhythm. A pacemaker treats both of these conditions, speeding up the heart's rhythm when necessary. In some cases, atrial fibrillation is treated through medication that slows the heart too much, and the pacemaker compensates for that rather than treating the atrial fibrillation itself. An implanted pacemaker can completely replace the natural pacemaker of the heart if necessary.

Electronic pacemakers can either be temporary or permanent, according to WebMD. A permanent pacemaker is surgically implanted next to the heart and can be used to regulate one or both sides of the heart. A temporary pacemaker is located outside the body and is attached to the heart via wires threaded through the chest wall or through major veins. Temporary pacemakers are used after heart surgery or while waiting for a permanent pacemaker to be installed.

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