Once your pacemaker is implanted, the battery should last five to 15 years, which is the average battery life. When a pacemaker's battery wears out, the pacemaker's pulse generator is replaced. The leads of your pacemaker can be left in place — though they may need to be replaced eventually — and the procedure to change your pacemaker's battery is often quicker and requires less recovery time than the procedure to first implant your pacemaker.
Pacemakers are a standard treatment for many conditions affecting your heart's electrical system. By preventing a slow heart rate, pacemakers can treat symptoms, such as fatigue, lightheadedness and fainting. Because most of today's pacemakers automatically adjust your heart rate to match your level of physical activity, they can allow you to resume a more active lifestyle.
Pacemakers and end-of-life issues
If you have a pacemaker and become terminally ill with a condition unrelated to your heart, such as cancer, it's possible that your pacemaker could prolong the process of dying. Doctors and researchers have varied opinions on turning off a pacemaker in end-of-life situations.
Talk to your doctor if you have a pacemaker and are concerned about turning it off. You may also want to talk to family members or another person designated to make medical decisions for you about what you'd like to do in end-of-life care situations.
Feb. 02, 2017
- Artificial pacemaker. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/PreventionTreatmentofArrhythmia/Artificial-Pacemaker_UCM_448480_Article.jsp#.VqmHgPkrLIU. Accessed Jan. 26, 2016.
- Marx JA, et al., eds. Implantable cardiac devices. In: Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 26, 2016.
- Pacemaker. Heart Rhythm Society. http://www.hrsonline.org/Patient-Resources/Treatment/Pacemaker. Accessed Jan. 26, 2016.
- Gillis HM, et al. HRS/ACCF expert consensus statement on pacemaker device and mode selection. Rhythm. 2012;9:1344.
- What is a pacemaker? American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_300451.pdf. Accessed Jan. 26, 2016.
- Zipes DP, et al., eds. Implantable pacemakers. In: Cardiac Electrophysiology: From Cell to Bedside. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 26, 2016.
- What is a pacemaker? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pace/. Accessed Jan. 27, 2016.
- What is the heart? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hhw#. Accessed Jan. 27, 2016.
- Pacemaker implantation. NHS Choices. http://www.nhs.uk/Pages/Preview.aspx?site=PacemakerImplantation&print=635895492679634634&JScript=0. Accessed Jan. 26, 2016.
- Hayes DL. Permanent cardiac pacing: Overview of devices and indications. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 26, 2016.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. About your pacemaker implantation. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2010.
- Gura MT. Considerations in patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices at end of life. AACN Advanced Critical Care. 2015;26:356.
- Riggin ER. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 13, 2016.
- Miller MA, et al. Leadless cardiac pacemakers: Back to the future. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2015;66:1179.
- Reddy VY, et al. Percutaneous implantation of an entirely intracardiac leadless pacemaker. The Lancet. 2015;37:1125.
- Mankad R (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 8, 2016.