Simplified – Sensor Rate, What is the sensor rate in a Pacemaker
In most people the hearts natural pacemaker (Sino Atrial Node) takes care of dictating heart rate. When a healthy person exercises their heart rate increases. Often in people with an Atrial Arrhythmia or Sino Atrial Disease the heart rate does not increase appropriately in relation to the bodies demand for oxygen. These fall into the Chronotropically Incompetent bracket which is gibberish for when they exercise their heart rate doesn’t increase.
Now consider a person who had a heart rate of 60 but because of disease when they ran up a hill the heart rate didnt increase…
Enter a pacemaker, the pacemaker can use vibration (through a piezo-electric crystal) or impedance at the end of the lead (using a closed loop algorithm) to assume that person is exercising….
This will then gently increase the persons heart rate when they start to exert themselves.
If that Sensor rate is set to 115bpm…. when that person is exerting themselves the pacemaker will increase its rate accordingly up to a maximum of this rate.
The Sensor Rate is adjustable depending on the usual variables (Age, Fitness, Disease) and so to is the sensitivity – the speed at which the pacemaker increases the rate.
Please understand there are so many variables and this is in its simplest form.
A complete explanation of these topics and more is available in the book Pacemakers Made Easy by Carl Robinson.