Pacemaker implantation is one of the most frequently performed cardiac procedures, with 700,000+ new implants Worldwide in a 2009 survey.
The benefits of implantable pacemakers are undisputed with improvements in symptoms and, for some indications, life expectancy. Traditional pacemakers consist of a battery (or generator) placed under the skin near the collarbone and connected to the heart by pacing leads. The large veins in the chest are used as conduits for the leads to access the heart (See figure 1).
Until very recently, this basic system design hasn’t changed since the inception of implantable pacemakers in the late 1950s, even though there have been many ‘hidden’ technological advancements, particularly in device software features.