Pacemakers & Defibrillators

Upstate Cardiology has two physicians who practice a sub-specialty of cardiology called electrophysiology.  Dr. Craig J. McCotter and Dr. Richard N. Vest  are  able to provide the full spectrum of cardiovascular care to include monitoring and maintaining implanted devices (pacemakers and ICD/Defibrillators).  The services they provide oftentimes allow patients who have pacemakers or defibrillators have their devices checked on the same day as their follow-up visits with their regular cardiologist.

If you currently have your device monitored by a different office and would like to take advantage of receiving all your cardiovascular care at Upstate, please click here to download the "Medical Records Release" form that authorizes Upstate Cardiology to transfer your records from your current provider. Print out and complete the form and mail it to Upstate Cardiology's Greenville location. Once we receive your records, we will contact you to schedule your device check, and if needed, schedule your follow-up appointment with your physician on the same day. 

There are several reasons why you may need a pacemaker or a defibrillator. Your heart rate may just simply be too slow, causing you to pass out or experience dizziness or severe weakness. You may be at risk for a life-threatening rhythm or you may have a heart rhythm that goes too fast, then too slow. Sometimes a pacemaker may be placed in certain patients to help with heart failure. If a device is needed, the insertion procedure will involve an IV being placed.  Medication will be given to help you relax and to help with any pain you may have. The area under your collarbone is injected with a numbing medicine, an incision is made in the skin, and a small pocket is made under the skin. Pacing wires are inserted down into the heart, attached to the heart muscle, and connected to a battery that will fit into the pocket. Once the physician sees that the pacemaker is working properly, the pocket is closed with stitches, staples, or glue. 

You will be given a follow-up appointment in the office for a wound check in about a week, then you will be set up for regular check-ups in our Device Clinic.

How do I prepare for a pacemaker or defibrillator placement?

You will be asked to have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before your procedure.  You should bring an overnight bag and all your medication to the hospital.

Will I be awake for the procedure?

You will be given a mild sedative to help you relax and lie still and you may be given some medicine through your IV that will help you rest, but you will not be "put to sleep" for the procedure.

What can I expect after the procedure?

There will be some minor limitation and restrictions after you have a pacemaker or defibrillator placed. Your arm will be in a sling and you will be asked not to raise your arm over your head for a short period of time, allowing the site to heal. You will have a lump or swollen area where the pacemaker/defibrillator was placed and there may be a small amount of drainage on the bandage, but there should not be any active bleeding. If you notice heavy drainage, swelling or bleeding, you should contact your physician.