Data Storage

I have a question for those of you who have new models of pacemakers implanted. Does your model store data? In other words, can the doctor download all heartbeats since the last checkup and see any abnormal behavior by your heart? If so, this is an awesome feature that can help determine when problems hit. If not, it is a much needed feature by all PMs.



by lenora - 2007-04-09 02:04:33

I just got my second pacemaker two weeks ago, a St. Jude 5386. This was an upgrade from my 3-year old 5380, which itself had all sorts of data-storing capabilities. At my first check last week the printout showed that I had 86 episodes of atrial fib since implantation, most lasting less than a minute and one lasting 6 hours. The printout shows what time of day each episode occurred, and of course what changes led up to the arrhythmia. Yes it is awesome. Lenora


by boatman50 - 2007-04-09 03:04:41

Hi Mac, yes they do store data. At the pm interogation the other day they looked back and printed out the histograms that showed heart beats etc, could tell me how often and what part of my heart was paced, and a lot more that I don't understand. Truly an amazing piece of equipment!


by DMcCloud - 2007-04-09 05:04:48

Thanks for the feedback. As a data analyst, I know just how awesome that is. I was hoping that the technology was there, and you have confirmed it. It should help me in future situations where I have experienced problems with my non-data storing, 10 year old PM. I should get my upgrade early next year.

Yes they do

by colleenjohnson - 2007-04-09 07:04:02

Yes they do as far as I know! Mine is a Medtronic
All the best, Colleen


by Meerkats - 2007-04-10 08:04:33

I had a pacemaker put in last June to prevent problems with complete congenital heart block, which I had known about for some time. (It wasn't diagnosed until I was an adult, as I never had any serious symptoms). Anyway, my pacer recorded a serious episode of ventricular tachycardia which wasn't related to the heart block, was a separate issue, and came with just as many risks. I ended up having my pacemaker replaced with a defibrillator (ICD) so the pacing part can control the heart block and the defib part be there to shock me out of VT if it happens again.

I asked my doc how I was so unlucky to have been born with two separate, life threatening cardiac issues and he said it was all perspective...I was actually lucky enough to have the CHB which required the pacer so the pacer could discover the second problem that was lurking before I had any serious problems.

So yeah, they are pretty amazing little machines and I'm pretty happy they're able to record things like they do. Who knows what might have happened had the pacer not caught what it did.

Data retention: depends

by valbob89 - 2007-04-12 10:04:13


Yup, they all save some things, but don't save a full-time strip -- at least, they couldn't save one for long. As small as they are, and with their (relatively) limited battery size, they only store several seconds at a time of problem moments. However, they keep track of date and time, and are usually cleared after the doc reads your data.

Saving data takes power, due both to volume and time held. So, the less data your pacer saves, and the less often it actually paces your heart, the longer (within limits) it can last.

Some (mine included) or all also keep track of every pulse according to its type -- paced or sensed -- and pulse rate, and drop them in a "bin" that allows a table to be generated.

Mine is a St. Jude two-lead (needs a larger battery than the single-lead units) and can record about 11 sec. per event. The strip shows an atrial and a ventricular bipolar strip, and timing marks in milliseconds.

Mine can keep either four or six (I don't remember) self-recorded events. I used that feature when I had discomfort but nothing was showing up on the standard report. I was given a large magnet, the pacer was set to record whenever I put the magnet over the pacer, and I was sent home. After a couple of days (long enough to fill the four or six slots), I had the data downloaded, and a problem with pacing time delays was reprogrammed.

The magnet feature can be set for different purposes, or can be shut off. Mine was later shut off so I could get an MRI. No problem. I'm getting the pacemaker tested very soon, and will file a report.

Best wishes,

You know you're wired when...

Your device makes you win at the slot machines.

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I am 100% pacemaker dependant and have been all my life. I try not to think about how a little metal box keeps me alive - it would drive me crazy. So I lead a very active life.