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Cardiac Device Monitoring

Overview

Cardiac devices include pacemakers and ICDs (implantable cardioverter-defibrillators).

Cardiac devices have very advanced features. Your doctor can program your device to work in different ways depending on your needs.

Doctors 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.

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.

Monitoring is done at office visits and remotely. Remote monitoring can be done from your home.

Pacemakers

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 called interrogation.

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.

ICDs

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 office

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 information.

Your doctor may check the skin around your implanted device to make sure that there are no signs of an infection.

Monitoring remotely

In between checkups at your doctor's office, information will be sent electronically from your cardiac device to your doctor. This is easier than going to the doctor's office or clinic every time you need to have your device checked.

Your doctor will give you instructions for your heart device.

There are different ways that information can be sent to your doctor. For example, you might have a wireless monitor in your home or an app on your phone. Sometimes information is sent automatically to your doctor. This can be done while you are sleeping.

Your information is stored securely online so that only your doctor can see it.

Credits

Current as of: January 10, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
John M. Miller MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology