Temporary pacemaker

A temporary pacemaker is a small battery-powered device that is used to help keep a regular heartbeat. The device that sends out the electrical signal usually remains outside the body, whereas a permanent pacemaker is implanted inside the body.

A temporary pacemaker is used when a person is:

  • Too sick to receive a permanent pacemaker.
  • Likely to recover from a slow heart rate and will not need a permanent pacemaker (such as right after a heart attack).
  • In an emergency situation, because of a slow heart rate. For example, a person's blood pressure may be very low because of a slow heart rate, and it is necessary to speed up the heart immediately.
  • Being treated with (and still requires) an external pacemaker.

Last Updated: May 5, 2009

Author: Robin Parks, MS

Medical Review: Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine & John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology

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