Pacemakers are critical to regulating heartbeats in people with arrhythmias—so it’s important the devices work as designed. When they don’t, adjustments may be needed.
Fortunately, these days it’s easier than ever to monitor this lifesaving technology. .
The first step is for patients to stay on a regular schedule of routine follow-ups, with some needing to visit only once per year. Patients with defibrillators should come to office every three months.
Between visits, patients’ devices are monitored remotely through telephonic transmitters, which download information from the pacemaker and transmit it to the physician’s office.
Causes for concern
Potential problems the transmitter can pick up include:
- Heart rhythm problems in the patient
- Low battery
- Corrosion of leads
- Device malfunction
When it comes to adjusting the pacemaker, the type of adjustment depends on the patient. Variables include the patient’s heart rate and how often they’re being paced. This is because some patients use their pacemakers continuously and some intermittently.
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Every patient is different, and the programming of the pacemaker differs according to each patient’s unique needs.
Ultimately, the goal is that every patient is being monitored continually and followed up with periodically. If a patient isn’t under the regular care of a cardiologist, he or she may experience physical symptoms when a pacemaker fails or requires adjustment. These can include:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of consciousness
If you have a pacemaker and begin to experience these symptoms, seek prompt medical care.