A pacemaker battery usually lasts 4 to 12 years. Once or twice per year, you will be asked to visit your health care provider to have a full evaluation of your pacemaker. When a battery needs to be replaced, the entire pacemaker is replaced so that you can benefit from new circuitry and any new features that have been added to pacemakers. Most often, this procedure is very simple because the leads are already in place.
There are many things that affect how long a pacemaker battery will last, including:
The age of the pacemaker.
The number of leads (1, 2, or 3).
The pacemaker work load. If the pacemaker is helping the heart more often, the battery will not last as long as it would if the pacemaker did not need to help the heart.
Power (voltage) settings.
Any allergies you have.
All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
Previous problems you or members of your family have had with the use of anesthetics.
Any blood disorders you have.
Previous surgeries you have had, especially since your last pacemaker placement.
Medical conditions you have.
Possible pregnancy, if applicable.
Symptoms of chest pain, trouble breathing, palpitations, lightheadedness, or feelings of an abnormal or irregular heartbeat.
Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, as with any procedure, complications can occur. Possible complications include:
Bruising of the skin around where the incision was made.
Pain at the incision site.
Pulling apart of the skin at the incision site.
Allergic reaction to anesthetics or other medicines used during the procedure.
Diabetics may have a temporary increase in their blood sugar after any surgical procedure.
Wash all of the skin around the area of the chest where the pacemaker is located.
Ask your health care provider for help with any medicine adjustments before the pacemaker is replaced.
Unless advised otherwise, do not eat or drink after midnight on the night before the procedure. You may drink water to take your medicine as you normally would or as directed.
After giving medicine to numb the skin, your health care provider will make a cut to reopen the pocket holding the pacemaker.
The old pacemaker will be disconnected from its leads.
The leads will be tested.
If needed, the leads will be replaced. If the leads are functioning properly, the new pacemaker may be connected to the existing leads.
A heart monitor and the pacemaker programmer will be used to make sure that the new pacemaker is working properly.
The incision site is then closed. A dressing is placed over the pacemaker site. The dressing is removed 24 to 48 hours afterwards.
You will be taken to a recovery area after the new pacemaker implant is completed. Your vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and oxygen levels will be monitored.
Your health care provider will tell you when you will need to next test your pacemaker or when to return to the office for follow-up for removal of stitches.