Alert

Updates


As the COVID-19 situation has evolved, our visitor policy is evolving as well. Get full details.

For the most current information, please visit our Coronavirus resource pages.

Permanent pacemaker

Location of pacemaker in upper-left chest, showing its lead through subclavian vein and into right ventricle

A pacemaker is a small, battery-powered device that sends out small electrical impulses to make the heart beat in a regular rhythm and at a normal speed. A pacemaker consists of a pulse generator and battery that create the electrical impulses. Most pacemakers have wires (leads) that transmit electricity to the heart. A pacemaker has one or more leads. A lead goes from the pacemaker through the subclavian vein and into a heart chamber, such as the right atrium or right ventricle. The end of the lead is in the heart chamber to stimulate the muscle.

A permanent pacemaker is typically placed under the skin of the chest. One type of permanent pacemaker is placed inside the heart. This type does not have leads.

Current as of: April 29, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
John M. Miller MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Steven J. Atlas MD, MPH - Internal Medicine

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.