When the heart rate is irregular or too slow, cardiac output is compromised. A pacemaker may be utilized to support the heart’s electrical system, stabilize arrhythmias, and ensure the heart pumps at a rate that supports tissue perfusion throughout the body. 

A pacemaker may be indicated in patients with arrhythmias such as sick sinus syndrome (also known as sinus node dysfunction), symptomatic bradycardia, or high-grade heart blocks. Other indications include post myocardial infarction, heart failure, congenital heart defects, and temporarily after some cardiac surgeries.

This episode answers some key questions you have about pacemakers including: 

  • What do all these terms mean? Capture? Sensing? Output?
  • What’s the difference between failure to sense and oversensing?
  • What is failure to capture?
  • What’s the difference between electrical capture and mechanical capture?
  • What are the different types of pacemakers?
  • What do the letters in the pacemaker settings mean?
  • What are some common pacing modes?
  • How do I troubleshoot common temporary pacemaker problems?
  • What is an ICD?

Hit play on this episode to learn some basics about pacemakers, so you can feel more confident caring for patients utilizing this very common device!

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