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Heart Failure and Biventricular Pacemakers

How Often Do I Need to Get my Pacemaker Checked?

A complete pacemaker check should be done six weeks after your pacemaker is implanted. This check is very important, because adjustments will be made that can prolong the life of your pacemaker. After that, your pacemaker should be checked every six months using a telephone transmitter to evaluate battery function. The nurse will explain how to check your pacemaker using the telephone transmitter. When the battery gets low, you will need to replace the pacemaker.

A follow-up pacemaker check is scheduled every three to six months. This check differs from the telephone check because the leads are also tested. Leads cannot be checked thoroughly over the telephone.

Here is an outline of the pacemaker follow-up schedule:

  • Check before you are discharged from the hospital, the day after implant
  • Telephone call two weeks after implantation to make sure the wound is healing and to ensure the transmitter is working
  • Six-week check
  • Telephone checks every three to six months starting three months after your six-week check
  • Pacemaker analysis every three to six months (in between telephone checks)

 

How Long Will My Pacemaker Last?

Pacemakers usually last four to eight years. Biventricular pacemakers that are combined with an ICD do not tend to last as long -- about two to four years. The lifespan of the pacemaker depends on how much your heart is depending on it.

How Will I Know If My Pacemaker Needs to Be Changed?

After getting a pacemaker, you will need to follow-up with the doctor and nurses in a pacemaker clinic and through phone check-ups. This will allow them to monitor your pacemaker's function and anticipate when it will need to be changed. In addition, the pacemaker may be programmed to beep when the battery is low. Your doctor will demonstrate this beep for you.

Resynchronization therapy is only one part of a comprehensive heart failure management program. Device and/or surgical therapy, when combined with taking medications, following a low-sodium diet, making lifestyle changes, and following up with a heart failure specialist, will help you decrease symptoms and live a more active life. Your doctor will help determine what treatment options are best for you.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Suzanne R. Steinbaum, MD on April 27, 2014

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