Pacemaker - Definition

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A pacemaker is a type of battery connected to a diseased heart serving to create cardiac contractions that the heart itself can no longer correctly perform by stimulating it electrically. The device can be external, essentially for emergency cases in cardiac intensive care units, or implanted directly in the body in surgery, generally under the skin in the upper right area of the chest. A pacemaker is composed of one or more probes, generally positioned at the ventricle or right atrium, and a control unit. This unit is set to different sensitivities of detection and stimulation, and can be set to function only when the heart rhythm is abnormally slow. A pacemaker is generally implanted in cases of dysfunctional cardiac conduction which causes bradycardia, such as atrioventricular blocks. A pacemaker can last up to around 10 years.