Pacemakers need to be periodically checked to ensure that they are functioning correctly. Some testing can actually be done over the phone, using a process called transtelephonic monitoring. Checking the pacemaker at periodic intervals is important because over time the pacemaker's battery will wear down and because there is a chance that one of the electrical leads implanted in the heart can "fracture" or malfunction.
Trans-telephonic monitoring offers a convenient method of transmitting a picture of patient heart's activity by telephone. The guidelines for trans-telephonic pacemaker monitoring were established mutually by Medicare and industry standards to both safeguard the patient as well as monitor device safety and reliability. The frequency of monitoring changes during the lifetime of patient's pacemaker, with more frequent checks as the pacemaker nears its expected replacement time.
Nearly 200,000 pacemakers are implanted annually in the United States. Implanted devices need to be periodically checked to ensure that they are functioning correctly. Telephone monitoring of cardiac pacemakers is medically efficacious in identifying early signs of possible pacemaker failure, thus reducing the number of sudden pacemaker failures requiring emergency replacement. The goal of routine monitoring of the pacemakers is to determine overall system function; optimize performance for maximal clinical effectiveness and system longevity; minimize complications; anticipate replacement of system components; and ensure timely intervention for clinical problems.