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Pacemakers Specialist

South Mountain Cardiology

Cardiology located in Tempe, AZ

When your heart’s electrical system malfunctions and causes an abnormal heartbeat, or you have a condition that increases your risk of having a sudden cardiac arrest, you may need a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). At South Mountain Cardiology, Nadeem Husain, MD, FACC, Patti Cox, MSN, ARNP, and Kim Munneke, MSN, FNP-C, have extensive experience implanting ICD and pacemakers and providing state-of-the-art ambulatory monitoring that protects your health. To learn if a pacemaker or ICD might work for you, call the office in Tempe, Arizona, or book an appointment online today.

Pacemakers Q & A

What is a pacemaker?

A pacemaker is an electronic device that continuously monitors your heart’s electrical activity. When your heartbeat slows down, the pacemaker automatically sends an electrical pulse into the heart to bring its rhythm back to normal.

When would I need a pacemaker?

South Mountain Cardiology implants a pacemaker to treat conditions such as:

  • Bradycardia (slow heartbeat)
  • Atrial fibrillation (irregular and rapid heartbeat)
  • Congestive heart failure (heart can’t pump enough blood)
  • Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease)
  • Conduction disorders (several problems with the heart’s electrical system)

Congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy often cause an irregular heartbeat.

What is an ICD?

Like a pacemaker, an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator or ICD monitors your heart, detects irregular heartbeats, and sends an electrical pulse to restore a normal rhythm. However, ICDs do more. They restart your heart if it stops beating.

When would I need an ICD?

ICDs treat arrhythmias that put you at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Your provider at South Mountain Cardiology may implant an ICD if you have:

  • Ventricular fibrillation
  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Long QT syndrome
  • A conduction disorder
  • Arrhythmia caused by a heart attack
  • Congenital conditions known to cause sudden cardiac arrest
  • Heart damage due to a neuromuscular disorder


ICDs most often treat ventricular fibrillation. That type of arrhythmia is the top cause of sudden cardiac death.

What symptoms indicate I might need a pacemaker or ICD?

The conditions a pacemaker or ICD treats cause symptoms such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fluttering in the chest
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet

A slow heartbeat may cause fainting (syncope).

How are ICDs and pacemakers implanted?

Most pacemakers and ICDs consist of a battery-operated pulse generator and insulated wires (leads). Your provider implants the generator under your skin and runs the leads through a blood vessel to your heart.

Your provider places the leads into one or more of the heart’s chambers. A sensor in the lead picks up the heart’s electrical activity and sends the information to the generator. When necessary, the generator responds with an electrical pulse.

If your provider determines you can’t have an ICD implanted due to your condition, you may be a good candidate for a wearable external defibrillator.

Some pacemakers and ICDs don’t have leads. Instead, there are built-in sensors in the generator. Additionally, your provider can program some devices for remote in-home monitoring.

South Mountain Cardiology offers state-of-the-art ambulatory monitoring. All patients with a pacemaker or ICD can enroll in the pacemaker clinic at South Mountain Cardiology.

If you have a heart condition that needs a pacemaker or ICD, call South Mountain Cardiology or request an appointment online today.