A pacemaker is a small device implanted under the skin and is used to help control or regulate the heart rate. This device is connected to your heart using a number of wires.

The pacemaker monitors your heartbeat and should the heartbeat drop below a programmed level, it will send an electrical signal to the heart to restore the correct rate.  
Some pacemakers are also able to assess physical activity. Signals are sent via the pacemaker to increase the heart rate during exercise in order to meet the body's increased need for blood and oxygen.  Some devices can improve the function of the heart in patients with heart failure.


The Procedure

The procedure usually takes 30 - 60 minutes.

Some sedation can be used in order tro help you relax, without the need for general anaesthesia.

A local anaesthetic will be used to numb the skin under the collar bone, where the pacemaker is being placed.


Inserting the pacemaker

A small pocket is made under the skin below the collar bone, where the pacemaker will be placed.

The leads which connect the pacemaker to your heart will be placed in position and then connected to the device.

The incision is closed with stitches which will dissolve and not require removal at a later date.

A dressing is placed over the wound to keep it clean and dry.

Following The Procedure


  • Bed rest is recommended until the following morning.
  • You will wear a sling on your arm the night of the procedure. This will prevent excessive shoulder movements which can dislodge the leads.
  • A chest x-ray and pacemaker check are usually performed the following day prior to discharge.
  • A course of antibiotics is generally prescribed for 2 -3  days.
  • You may remove the dressing over the wound site 3 days after the procedure.


If you notice significant swelling or discharge at your pacemaker site or fever, please contact the Cardiology Department/General Enquiries at 1800 20 05 50 during working hours. Outside working hours please call 01 885 8888 and ask for the ‘Nurse on the House’ who will discuss the issue with you and contact the Cardiologist on call.