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Cardiac Device Monitoring

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Topic Overview

What is a cardiac device?

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.

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What is monitoring?

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 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.

Monitoring is done at office visits and remotely. Remote monitoring is done by telephone or the Internet.

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.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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