Pacemaker Follow Ups – Pacemaker Follow Up Advice for the Technician

Pacemaker Follow Up Advice – For the Technician

Heart PacemakerSo this is a little different, in that normally I am advising and trying to help patients understand pacemakers and how they work! This does assume that the technician knows it all (how very arrogant). We don’t know it all and what we understand least sometimes is what it is like from a psychological perspective to to have a pacemaker. Luckily I have had some help on that front from Dr Liza Morton who has had 10 Pacemakers herself! (Thats a lot!) and my new Facebook friends and Twitter followers. With the input from this resource I have put some advice together for you! Yeah you! The Technician. Pay attention your patient is talking to you…

“I hate the way the technicians fiddle around with the settings and don’t tell me anything”

“I asked a few questions to try to understand as much as I can and was told not to be one of the worried well..”

“I really dislike when it’s someone else and they pace me without warning. It’s highly uncomfortable!”

“I’d like consistency. They don’t always do the pacing of my heart and I find that odd.”

“My least favorite thing EVER is when they stop pacing to check my escape rate. VERY uncomfortable!” 

“I once asked my ‘nice guy’ why the lack of communication and he said that they’re usually too busy to make small talk. (I think it’s much more than small talk)” 

“I absolutely hate when they speed me up without warning. At my first checkup I almost fell off the chair, it was so startling and uncomfortable.”

“I would like to be told a little more about whats going on rather than just being told what my battery life is!”

“so please once you’ve asked me how I am–listen to me”

“talk to me as if I were an intelligent human.”

“I find it annoying that they insist on turning my pacemaker down to find my intrinsic beat, when there never is one!”

“More explanation they shout out the numbers to each other but they don’t really include me unless I ask a specific point.”

“I’m yet to find a technician that hasn’t been rude and made me feel uncomfortable to the point I don’t want to go to the appts anymore!” 

“Major bugbear is being told “nobody else ever gets that symptom” implying I am either making it up or bonkers”

“When they do decide to speak to me it’s as if I’m a toddler – I have an MSc for crying out loud!”
Now some of the tests are unavoidable. However it is clear from the comments that it is important to warn the patient and to minimise testing… Do you really have to go all the way to 30 when testing for an intrinsic rhythm? Do you have to go to 90,100,110 to test a threshold? I have learnt something from these comments and I hope you will too… 
Our patients aren’t just dealing with a cardiac issue, a device implanted in them to treat their symptoms and having to adapt their lifestyles…. pacemaker check ups are part of this too so we have a responsibility to make these as smooth and informative as possible.
If your dentist looked in your mouth, yanked out a tooth without saying anything, didn’t tell you why and told you to stop worrying…. You wouldn’t be hurrying back now would you 🙂
If I am having a miserable day (we aren’t superheroes after all) I always try to imagine that I am a relative of the patient. If an old lady comes in then she becomes my Gran. If its a younger guy that comes in, he becomes my Brother and so on and so forth.  I don’t do this because I expect them to buy me birthday presents, I do this because Elsie is somebodies Gran and because Steve is someones brother. If my sister came in I would treat the patient not the pacemaker! I think we should extend the courtesy….
Oh there are some great eggs too…

“Reading the above posts makes me feel blessed to have the tech team that I have. They listen to my worries if I have any and tell me if my PM has picked anything up and talk me though anything that needs explaining. They would tell me if they were changing any settings also, which they now do with my consultants permission after a bad setting change that left me very breathless, I’m a complex GUCH patient. Basically they are fantastic and never rush me with my appointment. “
A complete explanation of these topics and more is available in the book Pacemakers Made Easy by Carl Robinson.

Thanks for all your input!
Time to pick up my new care (only a Polo!)
Cardiac Technician
Image courtesy of Digitalart /

Comments 7

  1. I have been a device tech for over 20 years! I strive to educate my patients and make them feel as comfortable as possible during their testing. I ALWAYS tell them exactly what I am doing while checking them and explain how it "might" make them feel if they are new to the world of Pacemakers and ICDs. I have found that everyone is different and reacts differently to testing. I document on their chart what to do and not to do on future checks if there are special issues. There really is NO reason to ever race someones heart to check their thresholds. It is all about understanding how the devices actually work and adjusting the AV Delay to achieve what you need to test. I always try and keep my patients at their current heart rate if at all possible. There are times that I will need to increase their heart rate if there is a problem, but I always explain that to them and let them know it will be for a very short amount of time. The more you talk to then and include them in their device check, the more at ease they are. No, I do not have a device and do not know how it feels… but when a person tells you that it makes them feel bad, I can assure you that it really does!! They know best how they feel.

    I have trained many techs over the years and the thing I stress most to them is to always talk to your patient (at a level they will understand) and tell them what you are doing each and every time regardless of how busy you are. They deserve to be your only focus while they are sitting in your chair/clinic.

    I love what you are doing with this site and your posts!! Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi Denise! Thank you for your input, I couldn't agree more and from my own experience I feel fortunate as my colleagues have always been very compassionate people. I think it is just on that one off day or when the clinics are overbooked and of course these experiences that stay with the patients. 20 years! I bet you have seen a lot of change in that time 🙂 If you ever have any ideas or things you think would work well on the website please feel free to contact me

    Thanks again,


  3. I have 3 different PM techs, and each one is as ignorant as the others. Always look angry and are not informative. If I ask any question, they make me feel like I ask or worry too much. And they always want to hurry or end my check up as quickly as possible. That's absolutely unprofessional. So far, I'm sorry to say, but I have no respect for PM technicians. They are the worst and inconsiderate healthcare worker (I'm not using the word "professional")

  4. Hi Duke! Thank you for your input, good or bad I love people leaving comments. I am sorry to read your comment though, like any job I guess there are good eggs and bad eggs. Have you fed back to your technicians how you feel during your check ups? I hate to think any technicians out their are giving us all such a bad name, I am sad to hear it in fact!
    Anyway I hope your experiences improve, I can't speak for myself but two of the ladies I work with are the kindest most compassionate people I know. They always go the extra mile to help the patient so there are some good ones out there 🙂
    Thanks Again

  5. I've had a few different techs in my almost 38 years of having pacemakers & in the early years they were inclined to talk to you & let you know what was going on but in recent years since my usual person left to go to another hospital nobody says much & they certainly don't give you any info. I think your just another number & there is no caring about the patient. When I did question one a few years ago all she said was" Oh your one of those people " in the best haughty voice she could muster. I haven't seen her since.

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