Information for the public

There is not much good evidence about how well this procedure works, and it can have serious complications.

If you cannot have a conventional cardiac pacemaker (which has a box under the skin with leads passing into the heart), you can be offered a leadless pacemaker. But only if you have regular checks to see how well it is working or if it has caused problems. This is because of concerns about its long-term effects and serious complications.

If a conventional pacemaker is an option for you, leadless pacemaker implantation can only be done as part of a research study.

Bradyarrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) can cause a slow heartbeat, usually because of a problem with the electrical system of the heart. In this procedure, a leadless cardiac pacemaker is inserted into the heart using a catheter (thin tube), through a large blood vessel in the groin (at the top of the leg). It is attached directly to the heart wall where it stimulates the heart to beat more quickly. This avoids the need for a pacemaker box under the skin with leads passing into the heart. The aim is to help the heart to beat at a normal rate and reduce symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, tiredness and chest pain.

NHS Choices may be a good place to find out more. NICE’s information on interventional procedures guidance has more about what a procedure is and how we assess them.

Is this procedure right for me?

If you’ve been offered this procedure, your healthcare professionals should discuss with you what is involved, explain any research study, and tell you about the risks and benefits. They should talk with you about your options, and listen carefully to your views and concerns. Your family can be involved too, if you wish. All of this should happen before you agree (consent) to have the procedure and to be in any study. You should also be told how to find more information about the procedure. Read more about making decisions about your care.

Some questions to think about

  • What does the procedure involve?
  • What are the possible benefits? How likely am I to get them?
  • What are the risks or side effects? How likely are they?
  • What happens if the procedure doesn’t work or something goes wrong?
  • What happens if I don’t want the procedure? Are there other treatments available?

ISBN: 978-1-4731-3061-6

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