heart implants

Heart Implants: What Are They Used for and Do I Need One?

If you or a loved one is having a heart implant device fitted, it’s normal to have many questions about what heart implants are and what they do.

It might surprise you to know it’s a relatively common procedure. More than a million heart implant devices are implanted each year. 200,000 of these are for American citizens.

That’s why we’ve put together our quick guide for everything you need to know about heart implant devices.

What Are Heart Implants For?

There are a few different types of heart implants. It’s important to know this because the way they work and what they do varies depending on the device.

The all-encompassing scientific name for heart implant devices is cardiac implantable electronic devices. Quite the mouthful!

This group includes devices such as:

  • Pacemakers
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillators
  • Cardiac loop recorders

The main goal of any heart implant is to control, regulate or monitor heartbeats. They’re implanted into people with poor heart health.

This includes people who have suffered from a heart attack or cardiac arrest before. It also includes people who are at high risk for cardiac arrest due to other factors like heart disease or cardiomyopathy. 

Thanks to heart implant technology, some of these devices now transmit information wirelessly. So they collect information about heart rhythm of irregularities which allows doctors to monitor your heart health. This can help prevent problems before they occur. 

They don’t all work like this, though, so we’ll take a quick look at what each kind of heart implant device does. 

Pacemakers

There are two different kinds of pacemakers.

The traditional pacemaker is implanted beneath the skin and connected to the heart through electronic leads.

The more modern pacemaker is implanted directly into the heart. Because of this, there are no additional leads.

Pacemakers are implanted into people who have bradycardia. This condition makes the heartbeat too slowly. The pacemaker works by creating electrical pulses to speed the heartbeat up to a normal rate. 

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)

ICDs are implanted in people with advanced heart failure or disease, as well as some other genetic conditions. When they need to, ICDs can deliver an electric shock to restore normal heart rhythm. 

Cardiac Loop Recorders

Cardiac loop recorders are the wireless devices we mentioned above. They record information about your heart rhythm so that health professionals can monitor conditions.

These tiny devices sit beneath the skin on the upper chest. They’re often implanted into people who have unexplained heart conditions. This way, doctors can monitor irregularities to reach a diagnosis more easily. 

Learn More About Heart Health

Heart implants are life-saving devices with various purposes, from regulating rhythm to monitoring heart health. Thanks to advances in technology, these devices are becoming smaller and more effective than ever before. 

Your heart health is so important. You can learn more about it in the health section of our blog.