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artificial pacemakers

Body Invaders: Pacemakers
Image: iStockphoto.com/angelhell

Body Invaders: Pacemakers

We think of the heart as a simple pump, but it's more like a car engine that needs electrical impulses to keep it running. A small number of pacemaker cells controls heart rate (beats per minute) by sending properly timed electrical impulses.

When this process fails, the heart beats abnormally. Serious conditions can be treated with an artificial pacemaker. Explore these lifesaving devices.

HowStuffWorks
Anatomy of a Pacemaker

Anatomy of a Pacemaker

Discover how a small metal device about the size of a silver dollar works to keep the heart beating regularly. Now digital, pacemakers can give and receive information remotely. More...

Article
PBS
Electrocardiogram

Electrocardiogram

An electrocardiogram (EKG) helps diagnose heart conditions by recording electrical activity. How would you diagnose the 4 patients in this game? More...

Game
The Nobel Foundation
Arrhythmias

Arrhythmias

Pacemakers are used to help correct heart arrhythmias — irregular heartbeats. Find out more about arrhythmias and why only some people with an arrhythmia need an artificial pacemaker. More...

Article
TeensHealth
Hackers Could Access Pacemakers from a Distance and Deliver Deadly Shocks

Hackers Could Access Pacemakers from a Distance and Deliver Deadly Shocks

Pacemakers today are digital, allowing the potential for their software to be hacked remotely. What could this mean for those who depend on the lifesaving device? More...

Article
Popular Science
Electric Beats: Pacemakers and the Human Heart

Electric Beats: Pacemakers and the Human Heart

Watch this animated explanation of the mechanics of the human heart to discover how pacemakers and implanted defibrillators work to maintain proper heart function. More...

Video
The Economist
Invention: The Pacemaker

Invention: The Pacemaker

On October 8, 1958, with no prior testing on humans, the first pacemaker was implanted in a Swedish man’s chest. He lived for another 43 years. Watch the reports from patient and surgeon. More...

Video
Discovery
Much More than a Garage, a Place of Invention

Much More than a Garage, a Place of Invention

Apple isn’t the only company with origins in an inventor’s garage. Find out about the Minneapolis garage where Earl Bakken, founder of Medtronic, engineered the first external, wearable pacemaker. More...

Article
Smithsonian
Scientists Build a Biological Pacemaker

Scientists Build a Biological Pacemaker

Natural pacemaker cells can fail, leading to abnormal heart rhythms — and often the insertion of an artificial pacemaker. But what if the heart could make its own new pacemaker cells? More...

Article
io9
What Determines the Rhythm of Your Heart?

What Determines the Rhythm of Your Heart?

Discover the role of electrical impulses in heart function and how they can fail, leading to the need for an artificial pacemaker. More...

Article
Discovery

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