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How can I find out if my pacemaker is working properly?

After pacemaker implantation (surgical insertion of a small device to regulate your heart rhythm), your pacemaker system will need to be evaluated by your pacemaker physician, nurse, or your local cardiologist's office at least twice yearly. A special computer called a programmer is used to perform a comprehensive evaluation of your pacemaker system. The programmer has a wand (like a computer mouse) that is used to communicate with the pacemaker. The wand is placed on your chest directly over the pulse generator and a radio wave signal is used to send and receive information from the pulse generator. Changes in the pacemaker settings can be done via this method as well. A complete assessment of the pacemaker's sensing and pacing functions, battery life, and diagnostic information is obtained, which enables your pacemaker physician/nurse to fine tune your care.

In addition to routine office visits, you may be asked to check your pacemaker system over the telephone—what is known as trans-telephonic monitoring. You will be provided with a small monitoring device that is used to transmit your electrocardiogram over the telephone to a receiver station at your doctor's office or a commercial pacemaker monitoring service. This type of monitoring is performed on a defined schedule—usually every 8 weeks or so. The purpose of trans-telephonic monitoring is to closely monitor the battery life of the pulse generator as well as to identify any potential sensing or pacing abnormalities.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.