If you have started a conversation about a pacemaker with your cardiologist, you know that these implantable devices have never been more reliable than they are today. Traditional pacemakers, that include a pulse generator or battery along with leads to the heart and self-contained leadless pacemakers work tirelessly in millions of Americans 24/7.
However, you may be concerned, rightly, about how long the battery will last.
The answer is, unfortunately, not straightforward. Pacemakers are mechanical instruments and, like any machine, can last a longer than expected or fail prematurely. However, improvements in the manufacturing of pacemakers means that today, we can reliably estimate that a pacemaker will last upwards of 10 to 12 years. This is the case for both traditional and leadless pacemakers.
What Determines How Long a Pacemaker Will Last?
The exact length of operation, however, will depend on how hard the pacemaker must work. For example, if the heart needs to be paced more than average, the battery will need to be replaced sooner. Similarly, if the pacemaker is exposed to significant electrical interference, its usable life may be compromised. In any case, the device will notify us appropriately, so we know when the pulse generator requires replacement.
Replacing a Pacemaker Battery
Fortunately, replacing a traditional pacemaker is a straightforward procedure. You’ll remember that during your initial implantation, a small battery pack was placed under the skin in the chest. This pulse generator is simply removed and replaced with a new device. The entire process is minimally invasive, requiring basic preparations and a quick recovery.
A leadless pacemaker on the other hand is in a ventricle of the heart and extraction is not as easy. In many cases we will opt to deactivate the old pacemaker and implant a second, active one. No matter what the plan of action, our cardiologists have the experience and knowledge to get you back to usual life as soon as possible.
We are always available to answer your questions about pacemakers, and any cardiovascular concerns you may have. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a consultation with one of our cardiologists.