The Arrhythmia Clinic follows more than 4,400 patients for pacemaker and ICD. The follow up consists of telephone checks and clinic checks.
During a telephone pacemaker check the technicians evaluate the patients rhythm to determine if the pacemaker is functioning properly.
- Pacemakers will help to regulate the heartbeat by assisting the heart as needed. If the patients heart is beating on its own, the pacemaker will not compete with the heart.
- The status of the battery is also evaluated with the application of a magnet. The magnet will temporarily change the operation of the pacemaker while providing information about the pacemaker battery.
During clinic checks the technicians will evaluate the pacemakers and ICDs in more depth.
- Pacing thresholds are performed to ensure that the device is providing an adequate margin of safety. What this means is, “how much electricity is required to make the heart contract or beat?”.
- Sensing thresholds are performed to evaluate how well the pacemaker or ICD sees heartbeats that occur within the heart.
- The devices contain a “histogram” which is like a diary. This information contains how much of the time the pacemaker is working and what the patient’s heartrates are over time.
- Lead wire impedances evaluated to ensure proper function.
- The battery voltages are reviewed.
- Most devices will make a recording of any irregular heartbeats that occur so the patient can be further evaluated by a physician as needed.
Device manufacturers have been working on remote follow up over the past few years. This technology includes ICDs now and allows patients to send their check over a phone line to the clinic. The technology is currently limited to some of the devices that are followed.