What is a Pacemaker?

A pacemaker sends electrical impulses to restore the heart's rhythm. Today's streamlined pacemakers, like the market-leading options from Medtronic, weigh about 20-30 g. This small device has helped millions of people live more active lives.

When people refer to a pacemaker, they are actually discussing a pacing system: a pacemaker, a pacing lead or leads, and a programmer.

Two parts are placed inside the body: the pacemaker and pacing lead.

  • The pacemaker is a small metal case that contains electronic circuitry and a battery. The pacemaker continually monitors the heart and sends an electrical impulse to pace the heart when the heart’s own rhythm is interrupted, irregular, or too slow.
  • The pacing lead is an insulated wire that carries the tiny electrical impulse from the pacemaker to the heart to regulate the heart rate.
  • The third part, the programmer, is kept in a hospital or clinic. A nurse or doctor uses the specialised computer to see how the pacemaker is working and if necessary, to adjust the settings of a pacemaker.

The three parts of a pacing system work together to treat bradycardia (a heart rate that is too slow). A pacing system increases the heart rate to meet the oxygen needs of the body.


More: Micra® Pacemaker
More: Adapta® Pacemaker
More: EnRhythm® Pacemaker

MRI-Conditional Pacemakers

SureScan Device

SureScan™ is the world’s first pacing system which allows patients with pacemakers to safely receive full body Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans under specific conditions.
More: Advisa MRI™ – Ensura MRI™ – SureScan™ Pacemakers

Benefits and Risks

As with any medical procedure, there are benefits and risks with implantable pacemaker therapy. Talk to your doctor to determine if implantable pacemaker therapy is right for you.


Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 4 Jun 2015

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