devices include pacemakers and ICDs (implantable cardioverter-defibrillators).
devices have very advanced features. Your doctor can program your device to work in
depending on your needs.
What is monitoring?
check, or monitor, cardiac devices on a regular basis to make sure that they are working
right and aren't causing any problems. Doctors also check the battery to see if it
needs to be replaced.
Your doctor can also get information about your heart
rate and heart rhythm. Cardiac devices can keep a record of when you had an abnormal
heart rate or an irregular heart rhythm. So these devices can help your doctor know
how your heart is doing and if you need any changes in your treatment.
is done at office visits and remotely. Remote monitoring is done by telephone or the
Your doctor will
check your pacemaker regularly to make sure that it is working correctly and that
the settings are right for you. The process of checking your pacemaker settings is
The strength and length of the impulse sent to the
heart muscle and how fast the pacemaker will go can be programmed into the
pacemaker. Your doctor may adjust the pacemaker programming, if needed.
Your doctor will
check your ICD regularly to make sure that it is working correctly and that the
settings are right for you.
ICDs can store a lot of information that your doctor
will look at. Your doctor will check to see if you had any irregular heart rhythms
or if the ICD gave you any therapy (like a shock). If you have had a shock, your
doctor will make sure that it was given at the right time and that it didn't happen
when you didn't need it.
Monitoring at your doctor's
No surgery is needed to check your
cardiac device. The doctor places a special programming tool directly on
your chest (on top of your skin and clothes). The tool automatically sends back
Your doctor may check the skin around your implanted device to
make sure that there are no signs of an infection.
Monitoring by telephone or through the Internet
between checkups at your doctor's office, you will probably send information from
your cardiac device to your doctor. You will do this by using a telephone or the Internet.
This is easier and costs less than going
to the doctor's office or clinic every time you need to have your device
To check your device, your doctor will give you a special transmitter
use. You connect this transmitter to a phone line in your house.
send information to your doctor in different ways. You might have a scheduled time
when you use the transmitter like a telephone and hold a monitor over your chest to
send information over the phone. Or your device might send information automatically
to your doctor. This can be done while you are sleeping.
Your information is
stored securely on the Internet so that only your doctor can see it.
Health Tools help you make wise health
decisions or take action to improve your health.
Actionsets are designed to help people take an active role in managing a health
Bhargava M, Wilkoff BL
(2007). Cardiac pacemakers. In EJ Topol, ed., Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine,
3rd ed., pp. 1191-1212. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
AE, et al. (2013). 2012 ACCF/AHA/HRS focused update incorporated into the ACCF/AHA/HRS
2008 guidelines for device-based therapy of cardiac rhythm abnormalities. Circulation,
Wilkoff BL, et al. (2008). HRS/EHRA expert consensus on
the monitoring of cardiovascular implantable electronic devices (CIEDS): Description
of techniques, indications, personnel, frequency, and ethical considerations. Heart
Rhythm, 5(6): 907-925. Available online: http://www.hrsonline.org/Practice-Guidance/Clinical-Guidelines-Documents/HRS-EHRA-Expert-Consensus-on-the-Monitoring-of-Cardiovascular-Implantable-Electronic-Devices/2008-Monitoring-of-CIEDs.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary
Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal
Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Adam
Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical
ReviewerJohn M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.
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