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Internal pacemaker, Hertford, England, 1980

Within the chest cavity of this plastic model is an example of an internal pacemaker. Artificial pacemakers use tiny electrical signals to stimulate hearts to beat when a person’s natural pacemaker has failed. A catheter from the pacemaker runs through a vein into the right heart chamber. The pacemaker uses a lithium battery to generate an electrical impulse stimulating the heart. Batteries in pacemakers last for six to ten years. It was made in England by APC Medical Limited. Approximately 25,000 pacemakers are implanted in the UK each year.

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Glossary: pacemaker

An abbreviation for ‘cardiac pacemaker’. It is a small device implanted in the heart that consists of electrodes. The electrodes emit electrical impulses to regulate the beating of the heart.

Glossary: cardiology

The study of diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels.

Glossary: cardiac pacemaker

Refers to the cells which emit impulses that control the contractions of the heart, regulating its beat. Can also refer to devices used to create these impulses artificially, if the heart’s ability to do so has been damaged.