Pacemaker Check/Monitoring Program
What does the Pacemaker Monitoring service do?
The Michigan Congenital Heart Center offers a monitoring service for children who have pacemakers. This service allows you to send an electrocardiogram (ECG), over the phone. An ECG is a written tracing of the heart's rhythm. This tracing is reviewed by a doctor who specializes in the care of children who have pacemakers. Much information can be obtained from the tracing. The tracing can determine if the pacemaker is pacing properly, if it is sensing the heart's natural beats properly, if the pacemaker is set to deliver enough energy, and if the battery is getting low. All this is done by using a special device called a transtelephonic transmitter that is given to parents when a child has a pacemaker implanted. Instructions about how to use the transmitter and when to send an ECG to the clinic is reviewed. Usually, an ECG is sent every one to two months or whenever there is concern that the pacemaker is not working properly. Signs of possible pacemaker failure include low energy levels, poor appetite, dizziness, palpitations or skipped beats, fainting and/or a pulse rate lower than the pacemaker's lower rate limit.
Routine ECGs can be sent to the Clinic anytime. If you call between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., the ECG will be received by a technician who will be able to provide some feedback about the nature and quality of the tracing at the time of your call. Until you have sent several tracings and feel comfortable with the procedure it may be helpful to call during office hours. If you call to send a routine tracing after the clinic closes, you will be directed by a recorded message on how to proceed. The tracing will be recorded on the answering machine and reviewed by a doctor the next working day. If you feel that the tracing should be reviewed sooner than that, please call the hospital operator at (734) 936-6267 and ask for the Pediatric Cardiology Fellow on call. He or she will go to the ECG room to look at the tracing as you send it.
What happens when a tracing is received?
All transtelephonic tracings are reviewed by a pediatric cardiologist the day they are sent, or if the clinic is closed, they are reviewed the next working day. If there is a problem, you will be called right away. If no problems are found, your family doctor will receive a written report about the tracing. You will be called back only if a problem with the pacemaker is found.
How do I send a Transtelephonic Pacemaker Tracing?
One of our services is a toll free number for sending transtelephonic pacemaker tracings. This phone number is 1-800-742-2300 category 4355 and works only for touch tone phones. We also have a telephone reminder service that calls your home if your child needs to have an ECG sent that month. This is a pre-recorded message and the call can be scheduled for any time of day that is convenient for your family. Let us know if you prefer a particular day or time to receive this call, otherwise the call will be repeated from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday until someone answers the phone.
What if I have questions?
If you have additional questions you may contact the Michigan Congenital Heart Center at the University of Michigan at (734) 764-5176.
2006: Information reviewed and approved by Laura Bell, RN, MSN, PNP Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and Lynda Dettling RN, BSN.
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