The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood throughout the body. The rhythm of the heartbeat is regulated by electrical impulses that cause the muscle to contract.
Cardiac rhythm management (CRM) is a field of medicine that includes diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders. Cardiac rhythm management devices are implantable electronic devices that provide pacing, cardioversion, or defibrillation to treat arrhythmias.
Arrhythmias are heart conditions in which the heartbeat is irregular, too fast, or too slow. In some cases, arrhythmias can be life-threatening. Cardiac rhythm management devices are used to correct these problems.
Pacing is a therapy used to treat bradycardia, or a slow heart rate. A pacemaker is an electronic device that delivers electrical impulses to the heart muscle to make it contract. This increases the heart rate and helps maintain a normal heartbeat.
Cardioversion is a therapy used to treat tachycardia, or a fast heart rate. Cardioversion uses electrical shocks to convert an abnormal heartbeat back to a normal rhythm. Defibrillation is similar to cardioversion but uses higher energy levels shocks to stop very rapid and life-threatening arrhythmias.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are devices that combine pacing and defibrillation therapies. ICDs constantly monitor the heart’s rhythm. If an abnormal heartbeat is detected, the ICD will deliver a paced beat or an electrical shock to restore normal rhythm.
CRM devices are usually implanted under the skin in the chest area. The lead(s), which carry electrical impulses from the device to the heart, are threaded through a vein and positioned in the appropriate location within the heart.
Most people who have CRM devices implanted can return to their normal activities within a few weeks. The battery life of most CRM devices is 5-10 years, although some may last longer. When the battery needs to be replaced, another surgery is required to implant a new device.
CRM devices have greatly improved the quality of life for many people who live with arrhythmias. However, all implantable devices have risks and potential complications. Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of CRM therapy with your doctor before making a decision.
In conclusion, cardiac rhythm management is a field of medicine that helps to diagnose and treat heart rhythm disorders.
Cardiac rhythm management devices are implantable electronic devices that provide pacing, cardioversion, or defibrillation in order to correct arrhythmias. These devices have greatly improved the quality of life for many people who live with arrhythmias.