Both devices, a defibrillator and a pacemaker are used to treat ailments related to the cardiovascular system or the heart. To be more precise, they are techniques that help in the treatment of arrhythmias. Although the focal point of use is the same, yet they function on different mechanisms of action. Let’s have a closer look at the difference between these two, the battle of defibrillator vs pacemaker.

Defibrillator vs Pacemaker

To understand the difference, you must know the two devices individually.


Pacemakers are small, battery-functioning implants that help your heart beat properly with a regular rhythm. It is often the choice for patients with slow heart rate or bradycardia and less commonly for its counterpart, tachycardia, i.e., fast heartbeat.

A pacemaker implant is either permanent; the fixture is internal, or temporary via external. What a pacemaker does is that it sends electrical impulses toward the heart when in need to help with an adequate blood pump.

This implant sends electrical impulses, which prompt the heart when to beat faster than it is doing or slower. This is possible by wires joint from one end of your upper chest, the area near your neck under the skin, up to the area just below the collarbone on the other chest side. A pacemaker is implanted using a needle and threaded via a vein up to your heart.

Defibrillator Implant

A defibrillator is an implantable cardiac device having the size of no more than a pager. Its primary function is to monitor the heart rate, and to so is positioned right below the collarbone. A defibrillator vs a pacemaker is typically for detecting tachycardia and sends a sturdy electrical shock for regular heartbeat restoration.

But, some variants of defibrillators are multipurpose; they can function as pacemakers as well. They can send a weak signal to correct bradycardia too.

Parts of A Defibrillator:

  • A pulse generator
  • Batteries
  • Capacitor – sends a powerful shock to the heart.
  • An electronic logic circuit – sends intimation to the implant to discharge.
  • Lead electrodes to detect cardiac rhythm and send heart muscles the shock when in need.

Advantages of Using A Pacemaker

A few of the many pros of using pacemakers include:

  • Minor surgeries
  • Brief hospitalizations
  • Enhanced quality of life

Everything has its set of cons, too, along with pros. The risks include complications at the time of surgery. These mainly include bleeding, an infection, or abnormal heart rhythms. Moreover, there are possibilities of interference from other environmental devices like powerful magnets or cell phones.

Advantages of a Defibrillator vs Pacemaker

Some benefits include:

  • Increased life-span
  • Better quality of life
  • Increased peace of mind

Amongst adversity, surgical implantation can potentially send unnecessary shocks. Apart from that, possible multiple follow-up surgeries for generator replacement might be a requirement.

Final Take Out

We aimed through this blog to tell the difference between a defibrillator and a pacemaker. Before asking for a specific device, knowing which one is feasible for your condition is important. Please feel free to contact cardiologists from Epic Heart And Vascular Center for more questions or in detail discussion.