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Pacemakers And ICD Specialist

Heart Rhythm Associates, LLC

Van H. De Bruyn, MD, FACC, FHRS

General Cardiology & Cardiac Electrophysiology located in Little Rock, AR

If you’re experiencing arrhythmia or other disorders affecting your heart rate, Van H. De Bruyn, MD, could recommend pacemakers and ICDs to manage your condition. Dr. De Bruyn has 20 years of experience treating heart-related conditions in Central Arkansas and founded Heart Rhythm Associates LLC to provide men and women in Little Rock and the surrounding area with the highest quality of care available. To learn more about heart treatments like pacemakers and ICDs, call Heart Rhythm Associates or schedule an appointment online today.

Pacemakers and ICD Q & A

What is a pacemaker?

A pacemaker controls your heartbeat after Dr. De Bruyn implants it underneath the skin in your chest. This small device includes a small pulse generator and insulated leads (wires).

The pulse generator contains the electrical circuits and battery required to control the electrical pulses going to your heart. Dr. De Bruyn places up to three flexible leads in one or more chambers of your heart to deliver these electrical pulses.

Once in place, your pacemaker actively monitors your heart rhythm and keeps it beating at a normal rate. If your heart rate slows, speeds up, or becomes irregular, your pacemaker sends the necessary electrical signals to your heart to correct the rhythm.

Many pacemakers can also detect your breathing rate, and whether your body’s in motion, so it can help your heart respond correctly during activities like exercise.

What is an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator?

An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is a device surgically installed in your chest to detect dangerous and life-threatening heart rhythms.

Unlike a pacemaker that controls abnormal rhythms with electrical pulses, an ICD automatically delivers an electrical shock – or defibrillation – to prevent cardiac arrest when it detects dangerous rhythms. Cardiac arrest occurs when your heart stops functioning.

Three types of ICD therapy react in different ways, depending upon your symptoms:

  • Low-energy pacing therapy: little or no chest sensations when correcting mild heart disruptions
  • Cardioversion therapy: a chest thump in response to a more serious arrhythmia
  • Defibrillation therapy: a kick in the chest that can, from its strongest electrical shock, knock you off your feet but restore your heartbeat to its normal rhythm

These sensations typically last a second with no long-term discomfort. In most cases, you only need one ICD shock to restore your heartbeat.

Many ICDs can function as both a pacemaker and defibrillator.

Why would I need a pacemaker or ICD?

Dr. De Bruyn might recommend a pacemaker or ICD to treat arrhythmias. Heart arrhythmias – abnormal heart rhythms – can either be too slow, too fast or irregular. In most cases, you experience arrhythmias because of malfunctions in your heart’s electrical system.

Receiving a pacemaker or ICD usually involves minor surgery that sometimes requires a short hospital stay while Dr. De Bruyn confirms it’s functioning properly. You can generally return to your regular activities within a few days.

To learn more about pacemakers and ICDs, call Heart Rhythm Associates or schedule an appointment online today.