Pacemaker, defibrillator & loop recorder care
You should go through a complete device check about one to two weeks after your device is first implanted. You’ll also need a complete exam about once a year.
Most implanted heart devices come with remote monitoring. These devices send information to a remote monitoring clinic and alert our dedicated nurses when an anomaly is detected. That means we can spot problems quickly and make appropriate modifications to your treatment plan in real time. Remote monitoring can also save you time by reducing the visits you need to make to the clinic.
We have two fulltime nurses dedicated to the device clinic. These specialized nurses assist our cardiac electrophysiologists, provide follow-up care, answer your heart device questions, and are the first line of response for home monitoring alerts.
Benefits of the Device Clinic
The device clinic helps optimize device operation and ensure your safety. Benefits include:
- Diagnose abnormal heart rhythms
- Identify any evidence of malfunction
Regular device follow-up is important. Your doctor will tell you how often you will need to have your device checked. During check-ups, the doctor will determine if your device detected or treated any abnormal heart rhythms.
About Heart Monitoring Devices
If your doctor knows or suspects you have a heart condition, they may recommend a monitoring system. A cardiac monitor, also known as a heart monitor, helps us gather important information on your heart health. At Aurora BayCare, we offer the latest in remote cardiac monitoring for both short- and long-term care.
Some cardiac monitors are used to diagnose a heart condition while others, like pacemakers and defibrillators, also help manage your heart problem. Our heart team has the latest heart monitoring systems optimized for your convenience, comfort, and care.
Pacemakers: A pacemaker is a small device that’s placed in your chest as an electrical backup system for your heart. It uses a small electrical stimulation (which you cannot feel) to regulate your heartbeat. A pacemaker may be recommended when your heart rate is slow enough to cause dizziness or fainting or when you experience recurrent pauses in your heartbeat.
Implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD): Similar to a pacemaker, this device detects life threatening heart rhythms and delivers a short electrical shock to restore your heart to a normal rhythm.
External heart monitors: An external monitor is a portable device that records your heart rhythm for up to a month if necessary.
Implantable loop recorders: About the length of a paperclip, these state-of-the-art devices are implanted just under your skin to provide continuous heart rhythm monitoring for several years. These devices are particularly useful for patients who don’t have frequent symptoms and whose heart rhythms problems can’t readily be captured with short-term external heart monitors.
Defibrillator vest: Some patients are not a good candidate for an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). If you have a health condition that prevents you from receiving an ICD, or if you are waiting for a future surgery, your doctor may recommend a wearable defibrillator vest. Like an ICD, an external defibrillator vest monitors your heart and delivers an electric shock if your heart goes out of healthy rhythm.
Your pacemaker or defibrillator is powered by a small, high powered battery. Over time these batteries do wear out. We check battery life each time you visit the device clinic and via remote monitoring. Battery life depends on the type of device and how much your body use it. Most devices last between five to 10 years.
When the battery of your device nears the end of its life, we can perform a procedure to replace your device, often with a higher quality, more advanced unit. This procedure is typically shorter than the first surgery in which we implanted your device, and most patients can go home the same day.