Pacemaker Checks

A complete pacemaker check should be done six weeks after a pacemaker is implanted. It should then be checked every three months on the telephone to evaluate battery function. Your nurse will explain how to check your pacemaker using the telephone transmitter. When the battery function becomes low, it will become necessary to change your pacemaker (pacemakers usually last about four to eight years). Once a year, you will need a more complete exam at a hospital or doctor’s office.

After the implant, a pacemaker’s functions need to be checked and sometimes adjusted. Your physician can do this using an external computerized device called a programmer/recorder/monitor (PRM). The PRM device communicates with the ICD in the body via radio waves from a wand held over the implant site. It works much like using a garage door opener or clicking a remote control to change channels on a television. When you come in for a check-up, the PRM is used to read the information stored in the pulse generator’s memory since the last visit. The procedure is quick and painless.

Patients with pacemakers will also need to see a cardiologist at least once a year.