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Pacemaker And ICD Monitoring

An implanted cardiac device, such as an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or a pacemaker, is essentially a small computer that collects data about your heart's activity throughout the day and night, and activates when your heart needs stimulation.

Often called "remote monitoring," this technology is a way for your implanted heart device to communicate with your doctor or clinic through the device if you need help. Your healthcare team can monitor your heart health and the function of your cardiac device without you having to be physically present at the clinic.

Remote monitoring can:

  • Help manage your heart condition.

  • Monitor your implanted heart device.

  • Reduce hospitalizations and ER visits.

  • Obtain information from your implanted heart device on an as-needed basis.

  • Help doctors detect abnormal heart rhythms & issues with heart devices faster.

Traditionally, data from a device is collected and downloaded during an office visit. With remote cardiac monitoring, the information is sent in real-time to your healthcare team using wireless technology and a Bluetooth-enabled device. In this way, heart problems can be detected and treated much earlier.

Why choose Presbyterian for your pacemaker and ICD monitoring?

Presbyterian Heart and Vascular Care has a skilled electrophysiology team who can provide a wide range of cardiac rhythm treatments. Their electrophysiology cardiologists are trained in many different techniques and procedures, many of which can provide you with a shorter recovery period and the opportunity to recover at home.

Who is eligible for a pacemaker and ICD monitoring?

If you have a pacemaker or ICD device or will be getting one, you may be eligible for remote monitoring. You may need a pacemaker or ICD if your heart is beating too slowly. Several tests can find the cause of your irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias). These tests include:

What conditions can be treated with a pacemaker and ICD monitoring?

Some conditions that cause an abnormal heart rate include:

  • Bradycardia: This is when the sinus node (SA node) in your heart causes the heart to beat too slowly.

  • Tachy-brady syndrome: This is when your heart alternates between fast and slow heartbeats.

  • Heart failure: A pacemaker for people with heart failure can pump more blood to the body and help them live longer.

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: This is when the heart muscle becomes thick, making it hard for the heart to pump.

  • Heart block: This happens when the electrical signal is delayed or blocked.

  • Fainting spells (syncope): Syncope is a temporary loss of consciousness when there is not enough blood flow to the brain. It usually happens when blood pressure is too low (hypotension).

How do I prepare for a pacemaker and ICD monitoring?

Ask your doctor about remote monitoring for your device. Even older models can be activated remotely.

What should I expect during my pacemaker and ICD monitoring?

Patients with an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator are given a monitor, a small transmitter to keep at home, which communicates with the cardiac device wirelessly.

If your cardiac device recognizes a heart rhythm problem or a problem with the device, such as a low battery or an issue with one of the device's leads, it will send a message to the monitor, which then uploads that information to the central servers at the medical manufacturer of the device.

Nearly all modern implanted devices are capable of remote monitoring. Most have built-in Bluetooth technology that allows them to wirelessly collect data from the device and transmit it to the clinic. Some newer devices even allow patients to use a smartphone app.

Even if you have an older pacemaker without Bluetooth technology, you may be able to perform remote monitoring manually. On older models, you may hold a wand over your device for a short period to send information from your cardiac device to your cardiac clinic.

From there, healthcare providers review the findings by logging into a highly secure, password-protected, HIPAA-compliant website from the clinic or even their own home computer, if necessary.

How do I care for myself after my pacemaker and ICD monitoring?

Have your device checked at all follow-up visits to make sure it is working.