Q:

What are the risks of pacemaker surgery in elderly patients?

A:

Quick Answer

There are no direct risks of pacemaker surgery in elderly patients unless the patient has other health issues, according to Everyday Health. The elderly show increased bleeding during the procedure if they take blood-thinning medication for other conditions. Bleeding is considered the primary concern of the process.

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Full Answer

The body has its own pacemaker called the sinus node, and it is located in the right atrium, explains Everyday Health. The sinus node produces small electric impulses that trigger the atriums to contract, sending blood to the body and brain. Irregular sinus node electrical impulses are cause arrhythmia, while a slow heart rhythm is called bradyarrhythmias.

Inserting an artificial pacemaker is not considered open surgery, as the device is small and only needs a little skin puncture, says A Place for Mom. One end of the wires is inserted into the heart’s vein close to the right atrium. The other end of the wire is inserted in the pacemaker. The pacemaker sends rhythmic electric pulses to the heart, ensuring a regular heartbeat.

The pacemaker records all the activities that involve the heart, such as the increased heartbeat rate during exercise, the blood temperature and breathing rate, according to A Place for Mom. The information helps the doctors determine and predict the health status of the patient.

PMC records that almost 70 percent of the individuals who need a pacemaker are over 65 years old. This requires the procedure to be safe enough for the elderly, as they are most relevant to the method.

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