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Pacemakers

EP studies are used to determine whether a child with an arrhythmia is a candidate for a pacemaker, a device which artificially stimulates the heart to beat.

Pacemakers fall into two categories:

  • One type provides a rhythm to the heart if there is excessive slowness or impairment of conduction to the top and bottom chambers.
  • Another is called a defibrillator.
          o Those pacemakers are specially-designed to monitor patients for life-threatening arrhythmias and deliver an electrical impulse that will defibrillate them from a rhythm that’s potentially life-threatening.
          o Defibrillators are reserved for patients in special situations like those with Long QT Syndrome, a disorder of the heart’s electrical activity.

Discussing the Impact
The impact of having a pacemaker is an important part of the discussion that will take place with the electrophysiology team. Most children are able to lead a nearly normal life with a pacemaker though they do need to be careful during contact sports and certain gymnastic activities.