What Is a Pacemaker?



A pacemaker is designed to treat a slow heartbeat.

When people refer to a pacemaker, they are actually discussing a pacing system: a pacemaker, a pacing lead or leads, and a programmer.

Two parts are placed inside the body: the pacemaker and pacing lead.

  • The pacemaker is a small metal case that contains electronic circuitry and a battery. The pacemaker continually monitors the heart and sends an electrical impulse to pace the heart when the heart’s own rhythm is interrupted, irregular, or too slow.
  • The pacing lead is an insulated wire that carries the tiny electrical impulse from the pacemaker to the heart to regulate the heart rate.
  • The third part, the programmer, is kept in a hospital or clinic. A nurse or doctor uses the specialised computer to see how the pacemaker is working and if necessary, to adjust the settings of a pacemaker.

The three parts of a pacing system work together to treat bradycardia (a heart rate that is too slow).

A pacing system increases the heart rate to meet the oxygen needs of the body.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 27 Sep 2010

Section Navigation

Additional information

Contact Us

Medtronic Australasia Pty Ltd 
Medtronic
97 Waterloo Road
North Ryde NSW 2113
PO Box 945
North Ryde NSW 1670 
work 1800 668 670 (Toll Free) 
work +61 (0)2 9857 9000
Australasia