Pacemaker placement in a cat
Carl recently assisted soft tissue specialist Catherine Sturgeon and cardiology specialist Emily Dutton to place a pacemaker in a cat with third degree AV block. The procedure required the use of a an artificial pacing unit to maintain the cat’s heart rate during anaesthesia to ensure normal blood pressure was maintained.
Once the patient was anaesthetised external pacing patches were placed on the chest wall and the patient paralysed to prevent movement during pacing. Due to the muscle paralysis induced the patient’s lungs were ventilated during the procedure until the drug effect wore off. Once Catherine carefully attached the pacemaker lead to the outside of the heart muscle (epicardium) Emily attached the battery and clever computer part (about the size of a 50 pence piece) which were placed in the abdominal wall by Catherine. This internal pacing lead was then programmed by Emily to take over control of the cat’s heart rate.
The procedure went very smoothly and the cat recovered well from anaesthesia with a fully functioning pacemaker that will respond by changing the heart rate according to whatever the cat is doing!