Williams, a cardiologist, details what a pacemaker is and the process of its implantation.
While Williams is careful to point out that this volume shouldn’t replace professional medical advice, it nevertheless remains a valuable resource for patients or families of patients undergoing pacemaker implantation—a surgery becoming more common in the United States as the elderly population grows. Pacemakers, which are devices that use electrical impulses to regulate the heartbeat, are frequently implanted when a patient’s heart is beating abnormally slowly. They are utilized, however, in a number of other scenarios as well—in children who have certain kinds of congenital heart defects, for example. The text details the basic physical structure of the heart, explains precisely where the pacemaker is implanted—generally, underneath the left clavicle—and breaks down its components, showing the various sizes, none of which are much larger than a quarter. Throughout, there are useful photographs and diagrams to help readers visualize the surgical process. Besides explaining the general clinical reasons for pacemaker implantation, the method of implantation and how the device actually works, Williams takes the reader step by step through the surgery, beginning with the preoperative work-up and ending with postoperative care. He additionally provides some sage advice on which questions to ask a physician, such as how many of these procedures the doctor has performed, since those who perform a higher volume of implantations tend to have a lower rate of complications.
Accessible and cogently written, this slim volume would be right at home in a cardiologist’s office.