First Pacemaker Interrogation Questions

I was implanted with a Guidant 1298 on February 20, 2007 and will have my first pacemaker interrogation tomorrow. I was wondering what to expect, what to ask, what to be aware of.....

Not sure if I will see a rep fro Guidant or my Cardiologist but I do have many questions.......

Any info on just what is done during the first pacemaker interrogation would be helpful......

Thank you....... and I want all to know that this site has given me more answers than all the medical staff I have seen over the last six months....



Feels odd but not bad

by sboissonnas - 2007-04-25 04:04:30

Hi blnmakerr,

I've only gone in for an in-person interrogation once so I may not have as much info as some of the other people on here, but here's what they did at mine. (I went to a PM clinic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago - your mileage may vary!)

First they stuck electrodes on me (ankles, wrists, and a few on the chest I think?) and hooked me up to an EKG machine. [I hadn't been expecting this, and was mildly embarrassed at not having shaved my legs that morning - I'm female - but the staff has, of course, seen it all by now!]

Next they did an EKG reading (at least, I think it's an EKG, but not 100% sure) without doing anything to my pacemaker. Then they pulled over a portable machine (about the size of a skinny office copier) and put a magnet over my PM site. I think they checked some readings at that point, I don't really remember.

Then they turned down the voltage on my PM and told me it would prolong the battery life and would be a little more comfortable if I'd been feeling it pace me (I hadn't). I honestly don't remember how they did that anymore, but I don't remember anything unusual about it.

Next they tested each of my leads (I have 2, also a Guidant, model 1291 I think) separately. This is where it feels extremely weird. They paced my atrial lead at 100 bpm for a little while and got a readout on the machine, then switched to the ventricular lead at 100 bpm for another readout. In the first case, it felt like my heart was in my throat. In the second, it felt like it was in my stomach. Not "pleasant" in either situation, but not painful, and not scary if you know what's causing it. Just very, very odd feeling.

I think they took the magnet away and did one last plain-jane EKG on me, took off the electrodes and sent me on my way. All in all it took about 15 minutes. The weirdness I felt from being "put through my paces" (sorry, couldn't resist) wore off in about half an hour afterwards.

As for questions, depending on what you have a pacemaker for, you might want to know things like how often it kicks in (I learned that mine's been chugging along at roughly 2%, even though I'm not "supposed" to need it except as backup if my heart stops - that was a surprise, so I asked what caused it. They told me it probably kicks in when I'm sleeping and my heart rate drops below its programmed threshhold of 60 bpm.)

Whatever questions you do have, don't be afraid to ask! I had lots of silly ones, and the technician was extremely kind and answered them all. I was asking about things like could I use an electric back massager I own, since it's electrical (answer: for most people with PMs, the answer is no, for me it's yes since I don't need my PM to pace me 24/7 - other people have to worry about their pacers picking up the electrical signal from the device and deciding it doesn't need to pace), and I wanted to know what would happen if I wandered too close to a magnet and my PM reset itself, would I notice, etc (answer: yes! it would pace me at 100 bpm until I got it fixed at the hospital) It was very interesting.

Good luck with your interrogation! Hope this helps...


PM interrogation

by maestro - 2007-04-25 08:04:30

My experiences with Interr are extensive because I had 2 cardios who insisted upon determining the PM settings and they made gross errors. Their improper PM settings hurt me, harmed me, and put me at risk.

1. Always require they print you a duplicate copy of the Intial and the Final Interr Reports. You'll learn by having them.

2. Always know what voltage and current changes they are making. You do this by comparing the Initial with the Final Report.

3. If changes are made, ask why.

4. If the manufacturer's rep does the Interr, you are in good hands. They are experts. Surgeons seldom know electronics.

Why Guidant Model 1298??

by ted - 2007-04-26 03:04:14

One question you might want to ask your doctor is what made him decide to implant a Guidant Model 1298??.

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