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Home Monitoring of Pacemakers, Defibrillators and Loop Recorders


The picture above shows examples of what a home monitor (or remote monitor) would look like from two different cardiac device companies. Usually the monitor is set up and left beside a patient's bed. 

What is Home Monitoring?


Home monitoring (or remote monitoring) is a way for implantable cardiac devices (pacemakers, defibrillators and implantable loop recorders) to be checked and monitored without a patient having to present to clinic or hospital. This means that any abnormalities in the device function or in the patient’s heart rhythm can be identified and managed much sooner than simply if it was to be picked up at a 6 monthly or yearly check-up.  


Most abnormalities that can be picked up by an in-office check can be picked up by a home monitor. Changes to your pacemaker or defibrillator programming can’t be made with the home monitor, however, so you could still be asked to attend Hunter Heart or a hospital periodically. Your home monitor could pick up things like a low battery or damage to a pacemaker lead. It can also provide early detection of potentially dangerous heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. Early treatment of these heart rhythms is important to reduce the risk of stroke, heart failure or other complications.


What is a Home Monitor?


A home monitor may look a bit like a modem or a mobile phone (it can also be a phone application for some companies) and will often sit beside your bed so it is close enough to communicate with your cardiac device when you are in your bedroom. It is generally best to leave the monitor set up and in one place so that it stays safe. If you go away for a few weeks then the monitor will download information from your device when you return. 


Overall, home monitoring is a very important part of managing and treating patients with cardiac devices and it means that in-office or face-to-face checks are not needed as often as they once were. If an alert occurs for your cardiac device, then it will be sent from the company to Hunter Heart and they will be in touch with you depending on the urgency of that alert. 

Other Important Points:


Some other important points about cardiac devices (pacemakers, defibrillators or implantable loop recorders) and home monitoring:

  • Your home monitor does not provide an emergency service. If you are feeling unwell it is still important to call an ambulance or see your doctor as you normally would. 

  • Your cardiac device will be checked routinely by your home monitor 1-2 times a year and in addition if there are any automatic alerts or if your doctor asks for an additional check. This is very useful if you are due for an RMS medical assessment (driving) or to make sure your cardiac device is suitable for an MRI investigation. 

  • If the cardiac device company does not receive a transmission for a few weeks or your monitor disconnects, then you should receive a call from them in order to get the home monitor back up and running. 

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