Heart rhythm abnormalities, which are often characterised by erratic heartbeats, can seriously risk a person's health and greatly reduce their quality of life. Fortunately, advancements in medical science have resulted in the creation of pacemakers, which are instruments intended to control and restore the regular rhythm of the heart.

Our cardiac department at Choithram Memorial Hospital is committed to providing cardiac services that are second to none. Using modern techniques, our team of best cardiac specialists in Freetown, Sierra Leone provides our patients compassionate, technologically advanced care that guarantees the best possible results from their treatments.

Let us dig into the realm of pacemaker assisted cardiac care, looking at both short- and long-term options.

Temporary Pacemakers:

When heart rhythm of a patient requires urgent attention but is predicted to normalise over time, temporary pacemakers are used. These devices are frequently used as a bridge to a permanent pacemaker, during surgical procedures, and in emergency situations. As the name implies, a temporary pacemaker is meant to be used as a temporary solution until the root cause of an irregular heartbeat is found and treated.

The following are some particular situations when temporary pacemakers are commonly used:

1. Post-Cardiac Surgery:

Temporary pacemakers are sometimes utilised after heart surgery, particularly when the surgery involves substantial vascular or conduction heart damage. Surgery can cause bradycardia, or a slow heart rate, or other rhythm abnormalities by interfering with the heart's natural electrical pathways. During the healing phase, a temporary pacemaker offers continuous assistance until the heart's normal rhythm is restored.

2. Acute Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack):

A slowed or irregular heartbeat may be the result of conduction problems caused by the injured heart muscle following a heart attack. Temporary pacemakers are used, particularly in the crucial early stages after recovery, to maintain appropriate blood flow and stabilise the heart's rhythm.

3. Drug Toxicity:

Certain drugs can cause toxicity and have a negative impact on the heart's conduction system. These drugs are especially useful for treating arrhythmia or other disorders of the heart. In order to counteract the drug-induced conduction abnormalities, temporary pacemaker is required until the medication's effects either go away or are effectively managed.

4. Electrolyte Imbalances:

The electrical activity of the heart can be greatly impacted by abnormal levels of electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium, and calcium. When bradycardia or other irregularities in rhythm are caused by electrolyte imbalances, temporary pacemakers are utilised. Once the electrolyte levels have been adjusted, the requirement for temporary pacing decreases.

5. Severe Bradycardia:

Bradycardia, a very slow heart rate, can be caused by a number of illnesses or situations, threatening healthy blood flow. In order to deal with the immediate threat and give the heart the electrical impulses it needs to maintain a proper rhythm, temporary pacemakers are quickly employed.

6. Post-Operative Monitoring:

Temporary pacemakers are used as a precaution during the early post-operative phase of certain surgical procedures, particularly those involving the heart or major blood vessels. By taking this preventative measure, possible rhythm disruptions caused by the tension or manipulation of the heart during surgery are reduced.

Permanent Pacemakers:

Permanent pacemakers are implanted devices designed to be used over an extended period of time in people with persistent or chronic heart rhythm abnormalities. Permanent pacemakers, in contrast to temporary ones, are designed to provide continuous support in order to guarantee that the heart keeps a regular beat for a long period of time. 

The following are some particular situations when permanent pacemakers are commonly used:

1. Sinus Node Dysfunction (Sick Sinus Syndrome):

The sinus node, the heart's natural pacemaker, malfunctions in those with sick sinus syndrome. Bradycardia (slow heart rate), pauses, or an alternation between bradycardia and tachycardia may result from this. In certain situations, permanent pacemakers are advised in order to control and preserve a stable cardiac rhythm. 

2. Advanced Heart Block:

Heart blocks can prevent the heart's upper and lower chambers from communicating with one another, particularly a third-degree (complete) heart block. In these situations, the use of temporary pacemakers is essential to maintain coordinated contractions and fill the communication gap between the ventricles and atria, thereby avoiding difficulties related to the absence of synchronisation.

3. Bradycardia-Tachycardia Syndrome:

The alternating periods of slow (bradycardia) and fast (tachycardia) heartbeats are the primary feature of this medical condition. To properly control both elements of the syndrome, permanent pacemakers with extra characteristics such dual-chamber pacing or rate-responsive pacing may be advised.

4. Heart Failure with Conduction System Disease:

Permanent pacemakers may be helpful in heart failure cases where conduction system abnormalities are present. Heart failure patients with conduction problems can benefit greatly from the use of cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) pacemakers, which synchronise the heart's chamber contractions.

5. Prolonged Drug-Induced Bradycardia:

Some drugs can cause chronic bradycardia. If stopping the drug is not an option, a permanent pacemaker might be advised to keep the heart beating at a healthy rate.

6. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy:

The thickening of the heart muscle in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy prevents the heart from relaxing and filling its chambers properly. The issue may lead to conduction abnormalities that can be managed with permanent pacemakers.

7. Congenital Heart Disorders:

Some people have congenital heart disorders that impact the conduction system of the heart from birth. It is sometimes advised to install permanent pacemakers to treat rhythm irregularities brought on by congenital cardiac problems.

8. Neurocardiogenic Syncope:

Permanent pacemakers may be used to treat neurocardiogenic syncope, a disorder marked by fainting from a sudden reduction in blood pressure or heart rate, particularly if bradycardia is a serious feature.

9. Post-Ablation Heart Block:

Heart block is a possible side effect of cardiac ablation treatments used to cure arrhythmias in certain situations. It might be advised to install permanent pacemakers to solve the ensuing conduction problems.

10. Advanced Age and Symptomatic Bradycardia:

To enhance quality of life and lower the risk of unfavourable events linked to slow heartbeats, permanent pacemakers may be advised for older people with symptomatic bradycardia and associated comorbidities.

In conclusion

The cardiac department of Choithram Memorial Hospital excels at offering modern cardiac services and is run by the best cardiac doctors in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The facility treats a range of heartbeat problems with both temporary and permanent pacemakers, providing long-term care for chronic conditions and rapid support in emergency situations. The hospital has established itself as an expert in pacemaker-assisted cardiac treatment by ensuring that patients receive compassionate, modern care.