Pacemaker Generator Changes
What is a Pacemaker Generator Change?
Pacemaker and ICD Generator changes replace the long-life internal batteries of these Cardiac Devices.
The pulse generator is the small metal box component of the pacing system which lives immediately below the skin on your upper chest. This component contains the electric circuits and a battery.
- The battery of a pacemaker tends to last over 10 years.
- An ICD battery lasts between 5 and 10 years.
- A Cardiac Resynchronisation Therapy Defibrillator battery lasts 5 to 8 years.
Replacing the pulse generator is a simple surgery, where the old generator will be disconnected from your leads and exchanged for a new pulse generator.
What Should I Expect?
Before the Procedure
- Your doctor will advise you if any medication needs to be ceased prior to the procedure.
- You will be required to fast for 6 hours prior to the procedure.
- Some patients may be required to have their chest shaved.
- You will have a cannula inserted into your arm vein and connected to a drip.
- You will be given preoperative IV antibiotic to reduce the risk of the device becoming infected.
During the Procedure
- At the beginning of the procedure, you will be given medication to help you relax. This may either be a sedative or an anaesthetic.
- Local anaesthetic is injected under the skin to numb the area overlying your cardiac device. The local anaesthetic will take away your pain sensation, though it is normal to still feel some pushing and pulling.
- An incision will be made in the skin over your cardiac device.
- The old cardiac device pulse generator (pacemaker/ICD) will be removed and disconnected from the pacing leads.
- The new pulse generator will be connected to your existing pacing leads.
- The new pulse generator is then placed into the pocket under the skin and the skin is closed in several layers using sutures.
- A sterile waterproof dressing will be applied over the incision.
- The procedure normally takes 45-60 minutes.
After the Procedure
- You will most likely have this procedure performed as a day case, without needing to stay overnight in hospital.
- You may need some pain relief medication. Pain after this procedure is usually mild and can be controlled with paracetamol.
- Before leaving the hospital, a cardiac scientist will check your device to make sure it is working properly and confirm with the Electrophysiologist. Any issues identified will be corrected before you are discharged from hospital.
- Most people will be discharged from hospital the same day.
- You will receive some information about how long to keep your waterproof dressing on over your device implant site.
- You will not need to have any stitches removed because they are buried below the skin and are dissolvable.
- You will receive a cardiac device identification card along with an information booklet produced by the manufacturer of your device.
- You will also receive information about how to get your cardiac device connected to your remote transmitter.
- Your doctor will advise you on your follow up appointments prior to discharge.
Returning to Daily Life
- Driving after ICD Generator Changes: Austroads Assessing Fitness to Drive 2016 Guidelines advise no driving for 2 weeks following an ICD generator change.
- Driving after ICD Generator Changes: For pacemaker generator changes, driving can resume the day after the procedure.