by Rebecca N. Revell, RN, BSN, CCDS, PaceMate™ Director of Communication Services, and Robin Leahy, MSPH, BSN, RN, FHRS, CCDS, PaceMate™ Vice President of Customer Experience
For nearly twenty years, technology has allowed doctors to check implanted cardiac devices—such as pacemakers, defibrillators, and heart monitors—remotely. Whether you have had your implanted cardiac device for years, or you are brand new to this patient community, there is always something to learn about how your implanted device and your home monitor communicate. Home monitor equipment changes, and you may have heard confusing information in the past. This article addresses some of the common patient concerns about cardiac device home monitoring.
Is my monitor wireless?
In the realm of remote cardiac device monitoring, “wireless” means that your implanted device sends information to your home monitor automatically. In most cases, it is the implanted device that determines if your monitor is wireless or not. Wireless devices have a built-in radio frequency or a bluetooth transmitter chip which allows the device to send information to the monitor.
Non-wireless devices do not have this chip, so patients with a non-wireless device must manually send transmissions on a set schedule provided by their doctor’s office. The most common non-wireless devices include the following:
- Medtronic pacemakers implanted prior to 2018
- Medtronic leadless pacemakers
- Boston Scientific subcutaneous defibrillators
If you have questions about whether your implanted device is wireless or not, call the PaceMate™ Patient Support line: 844-484-7633, option 1.
Is my monitor always sending information?
Wireless devices are not in constant communication with the home monitor. Most wireless devices are programmed to send information once a day during overnight hours. This does not mean that your doctor’s office will receive information from your device every night. Your doctor will only see a report in three instances:
- if there is an alert
- if there is a scheduled transmission
- if you manually send from the monitor
Additionally, you should always contact your doctor’s office if you manually transmit outside your scheduled dates.
Is someone always watching for my cardiac device information?
PaceMate™’s team of highly trained and certified device technicians reviews every report received from every enrolled patient. Every report from your device is available to your doctor. As mentioned above, implanted devices are not sending information “in real time” as events happen. In addition, home monitors may cause a delay in sending information if they become disconnected from your implanted device or from the network.
So, while PaceMate™ is assisting your doctor 24/7/365—every day around the clock—your data is not being constantly reviewed. This is one reason why your home monitor does not take the place of routine visits with your doctor and should never be used in place of emergency treatment for life-threatening symptoms.
Who can I call for help?
If you need emergency medical care, you should always dial 911. For monitor support, PaceMate™’s team of dedicated Patient Communication Specialists are available Monday through Friday 8AM-7PM EST. Any questions regarding your home monitor equipment can be addressed by calling 844-484-7633, option 1. For questions about results, billing, or clinical care, please call your doctor’s office directly.