Pacemaker Implantation Surgery in Tunisia

Treatment and Cost

7

Total Days
In Country

2 No. Travelers

3 Day in Hospital

4 Days Outside Hospital

Treatment cost starts from

USD 3600

Hospitals

About the Pacemaker Implantation Surgery

How does a Pacemaker Implant work?

Pacemaker implantation is a common surgery and it significantly improves the quality of life led by the patient.  The blood-pumping organ, heart, is essentially made of a few groups of muscles. These muscles are controlled by electrical signals to ensure that the heart beats naturally and effectively to circulate blood to all parts of the body. When this electrical signal gets disrupted due to some reason, then an individual may experience tachycardia (where hear beats abnormally slow), heart block, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), or a cardiac arrest (abrupt and sudden stopping of the heartbeat).

The contractions happen as a result of triggered electrical pulses generated by sinoatrial node or the SA node. It acts like a pacemaker of the heart. This electrical pulse is then sent to the atrioventricular node or the AV node for relaying the pulse to the ventricles. Pacemaker implantation is suggested when this electrical signaling network is disrupted.The faulty functioning of the natural pacemaker of the heart may lead to the following:

Sick sinus syndrome: It is characterized by a slow heartbeat (bradycardia) or fast heartbeat (tachycardia) or a combination of both. It can happen due to age, a previous history heart attack, and thyroid problem, too much of potassium accumulation in blood, heart surgery, or sleep apnea.

Heart Block

In this case, the impulse is either delayed or absent.

Cardiac arrest

The heart can stop beating. It may result because of the presence of coronary artery disease and muscle problems in the heart, which can happen after the age of 35.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms observed in patients requiring pacemaker implantation are:

  • Bradycardia
  • Tachycardia
  • Uncontrollable fatigue
  • Dizziness experienced throughout the day
  • Shortness of breath
  • Acute chest pain
  • Palpitation and fluttering of the heart (arrhythmia)

What is a pacemaker implant?

A pacemaker implant is a small device that weighs around 20 g to 50 g and is the size of a matchbox. It has a pulse generator with a battery, a tiny computer circuit and a few wires called pacing leads. This system is attached to the heart and it emits signals through the wires. The pacing rate or the rate of electrical impulses can be adjusted as per the requirement of the body and be accordingly programmed. It can sense if a heartbeat is missed or if the heart is beating too slow. Accordingly, it starts sending a steady signal to normalize the beating of the heart. If the beats are normal, then it simply does not send any signal.

How is Pacemaker Implantation Surgery performed?

Insertion of a permanent pacemaker is a minimally invasive procedure. Access to heart chambers takes place as transvenous access to local anaesthesia.  The most common method is via the subclavian vein or the cephalic vein. In rare cases, it is through femoral vein or the internal jugular vein.  Either in an operating room or in a cardiac catheterization laboratory, the pacemaker implant procedure is performed.

In the infraclavicular region, the pacing generator is placed subcutaneously. Via thoracotomy, the pacemaker leads are implanted surgically. The pacing generator is then placed in the abdominal area. Either via left or right pectoral sites, single chamber and dual chamber insertion can be accomplished. The chest is then prepared. Sterile drapes are applied to the incision area to keep it as sterile as possible. Antibiotic prophylaxis is nowadays employed for the implantation. Preoperative antibiotic can reduce the chances of any infection by almost 80 percent. Cefazolin 1g is administered intravenously one hour prior to the procedure. Other antibiotics can be administered if the patient is allergic to cephalosporins, vancomycin, or penicillins.

The central vein is accessed percutaneously. Due to skeletal landmarks being deviated in some patients, there will be a need of fluoroscopic examination to reduce the time and complications in access. At the junction of first rib and the clavicle, the subclavian vein is typically accessed. For the confirmation of deep vein thrombosis, a phlebography is required for visualization of the vein.

Now a guide wire is advanced through the access needle and tip of the guide wire in placed in the right atrium or venacaval area under fluoroscopy. The guide wire is kept in place after the needle is withdrawn.  If required, a second guide wire is also placed. Double wire technique may be employed through a sheath which is then withdrawn. Two separate sheaths can be manoeuvred over the two guide wires. During the lead advancement, some friction can be felt.

An incision of one to two inches is made in the area of the infraclavicle, which is parallel to the middle third of the clavicle and a subcutaneous pocket is made with both sharp and blunt dissection. This is for the implantation of the pacemaker generator. In many cases, surgeons prefer the access later and pocket first.

A peel-like special sheath and dilator are advanced over the guide wire. The guide wire and dilator are withdrawn keeping the sheath in place. A stylet is then inserted in the center channel of the pacemaker lead making it more rigid.  This lead-stylet combination is then inserted into the sheath and advanced to the concerned heart chamber under fluoroscopy.  In order to prevent dislodgement, the ventricular lead is positioned before the atrial lead. For the positioning in the tricuspid valve, a small curve at the tip of the stylet make it more mobile to reach the right ventricular apex. The introducing sheath is peeled once the lead is secured. With a pacing system analyser, the lead impedances are measured after the pacing lead stylet is removed. To prevent diaphragmatic stimulation, the pacing is performed at 10V. 

After the confirmation of thresholds and lead position, the proximal end of the lead is secured to the pectoralis tissue with the help of a non-absorbable suture. This suture is sewn to a sleeve which is located on the lead. This is placed in the right atrium is a second lead is required.  For patients who have already had a cardiac surgery, the lead tip is positioned medially or in the free lateral wall of right atrium. Same process of stylet withdrawal is followed after this. After positioning and testing of leads, the pacemaker pocket is fed with antimicrobial solution and the pulse generator is connected to the leads. To prevent migration or twiddler syndrome, many surgeons secure the generator to the underlying tissue with non-absorbable suture.

Before final confirmation of lead positioning, a look is taken under the fluoroscope. With the help of adhesive strips and absorbable sutures, the incision is closed. A sterile dressing is then applied on the surface. To limit movement for 12 to 24 hours, an immobilizer or arm restraint is applied. The chances of pneumothorax are ruled out with the help of a postoperative chest radiograph.

Recovery from Pacemaker Implantation Surgery

Recovery post a successful Pacemaker Implantation

Usually, a patient is kept under observation for more than a day after the pacemaker implantation surgery. It takes around six weeks before the patient to get used to the implanted device. Heavy works must be avoided initially. One should ensure that the concerned arm is not rendered immobile during this time to prevent a frozen shoulder. A physiotherapist can exactly show the movements that you need to perform to keep your arm healthy. Carry the duly filled pacemaker implant card for emergency to avoid any unwanted situation.

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the health care infrastructure of Tunisia / Why should opt for Tunisia as a destination for your medical treatment?
Hospitals in Tunisia are developing and trying to meet the international standards of healthcare. Although there is a basic set up in most of the hospitals for treatment in Tunisia, one can still expect scope for improvement. The Ministry of Health, along with the Government of Tunisia is making effective changes for the healthcare sector. The private hospitals in Tunisia are also undergoing a robust change to provide effective healthcare and treatment in Tunisia.

Like most other countries, hospitals in Tunisia have a private and public healthcare system. Hospitals in Tunisia include three levels of care: primary, with a network of 81 clinics and 2091 basic health centers; secondary, with 109 district hospitals; and tertiary, with 33 regional hospitals and 24 modern CHUs, according to MoS figures.
What are the conditions of the hospitals in Tunisia? Are they JCI certified? What is the quality of the support staff in the hospitals?
The Joint Commission International (JCI) is a global leader in health care accreditation. JCI accreditation is considered a gold standard in worldwide health care. It provides the most skilled and experienced healthcare professionals in the medical industry, as evaluators of the rigorous international standards in healthcare quality and patient safety.
In Tunisia, there are no JCI accredited hospitals but 4 private hospitals are certified ISO and OHSAS (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series).
Are the doctors/surgeons in Tunisia of the best quality?
The hospitals in Tunisia have seen a constant change in terms of development and technology. Most doctors that are trained in the country understand the needs and requirements of people and are able to diagnose and treat them well. There are various surgeons that fly in from other countries as well to treat patients. This was brought about due to the economic reforms and various expats residing there. The varying levels of health organizations provide reasonable means of treatment for any patient. There are also trained paramedical and emergency service staff in this country.
What is the process for obtaining a medical visa in Tunisia?
Patients who wish to visit Tunisia for medical purposes must contact the Embassy of Tunisia in their home country. One is required to have a valid passport. Those applicants must submit their visa application forms in person together with the following documents:
  1. A duly completed application form with one picture (within a white background).
  2. Original biometric passport and one copy. Passports should have a validity of at least one year from the date of your visa application submission.
  3. Medical certificate stating the type of illness and the treatment to be carried out. This document has to be in English or Spanish language.
  4. Letter from the hospital in Tunisia stating the appointment date and whether the treatment expenses have been already paid in full.
  5. Proof of financial means which enable the applicant to meet life needs while in Tunisia (salary certificate if working, bank statement for the last six months, property deeds, commercial license, other sorts of income).
  6. Travel insurance.
  7. Proof of accommodation (hotel reservation, etc)
  8. Applicants are advised that ALL PASSPORTS HAVE TO REMAIN at the Embassy premises while the visa application is under process (between 10 and 15 days), and therefore cannot be retrieved unless very special and urgent circumstances might arise.
  9. The Embassy has the right to require from the applicant any document that it may deem relevant in order to resolve the visa file.
What support services does MediGence provide in Tunisia?
MediGence enables you to plan and manage your medical decisions better. These are some of our services offered:
  • Expert Opinion
    We help you seek an Expert Opinion on your diagnosis and treatment from an experienced team of doctors at MediGence and specialists from a reputable hospital.
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  • Doctor Validation and Communication
    We share a comprehensive profile of the treating doctor and also arrange a call to clear queries regarding treatment if needed.
  • Options to Choose From
    Based on your choice of destination and other preferences, we provide you multiple options with respect to hospitals and doctors to choose from.
  • 24X7 Patient Care Support
    A dedicated patient case manager stays in constant touch with you to help you at every step of the decision-making process and resolve queries that you may have.
  • Transparent Treatment Cost and Other Expenses
    We give a clear and accurate indication of the total cost of treatment including treatment, stay, meals, and other expenses.
  • Visa Assistance
    We provide and help prepare documentation for visa approval and coordinate with the embassy to expedite the visa process.
  • Accommodation Arrangements
    We propose to you a choice of accommodation based on your preference such as long stay, short stay, or luxury properties.
Which are the best cities in Tunisia for medical treatment?
Tunis is the largest country and capital of Tunisia. This country is located in the northern region of Africa and is the best city for treatment in Tunisia.

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