Cultural Dictionary

pacemaker definition

A group of specialized muscle fibers in the heart that send out impulses to regulate the heartbeat. If the heart's built-in pacemaker does not function properly, an artificial pacemaker may be necessary — a small electrical device that also regulates the heartbeat by sending out impulses. An artificial pacemaker may be placed inside the body surgically or may be worn outside.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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