The condition is called bradycardia, otherwise known as a slow heart rate, typically lower than 60 beats per minute.
If left untreated, bradycardia can be life threatening.
According to Tom Wallace, Cardiologist, "the heart is just a muscle. It beats because it receives an electrical signal every second to beat. Over time as we age, that electrical signal weakens such that people's heart rate slows down or the electrical impulses throughout the heart gets sicker so that the patient ultimately needs help with a pacemaker."
On doctor's recommendations, Herbert Atwell is having a pacemaker implanted. It simply paces the heart to prevent it from beating too slow.
The small medical device uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate.
In most cases, the pacemaker is inserted in the left shoulder area below the collarbone. The leads are then fed into the heart through a large vein. The actual surgery may take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour.
After a month, they are free to go about their normal activities of daily living.
Once the pacemaker is implanted, it is periodically checked to insure the device is working correctly. Pacemaker batteries also have to be replaced every 5 to 15 years depending on active your device is.