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Troubleshooting Abnormal Pacemaker Rhythms

written by: Lashan Clarke • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 3/30/2011

If someone has a pacemaker, troubleshooting pacemaker rhythms will be necessary for the the pacemaker to function efficiently. This can be a life or death situation.

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    A temporary pacemaker is a vital tool, as it is used in the treatment of a slow heart beat. If there is a problem with the person’s heart, the pacemaker will need to function efficiently. This can be a life or death situation. There are a few things you can do to troubleshoot abnormal pacemaker rhythms, just to ensure the heart is protected and that a life is saved.

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    Check Batteries and Wires

    The first thing you will need to do is check the batteries within the temporary pacemaker. The batteries for the pacemaker might be dead or malfunctioning, and just replacing them can lead to receiving normal results again. If it is not the batteries that are at fault for your pacemaker, it is possible that you will need to check any wires that lead from the pacemaker to the person’s body. In this way, a faulty wiring system might be the cause for abnormal pacemaker rhythms.

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    Level of Sensitivity

    If you do this, and still get unusual rhythms using the EKG machine, you can try to turn down the level of sensitivity. EKG machines and pacemakers can be quite sensitive to movement. The sensitivity dial is used to ascertain the natural heart rhythm, so check if the dial is turned too high or too low. This can be why an incorrect reading is being shown on the graph of the heart’s rhythm. There is a simple fix for this, by turning the dial so that it is less sensitive or has the correct level of sensitivity. Check the EKG to see if this works and brings the graph back to normal.

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    Move the Person to a New Position

    In some instances, the sensitivity of the temporary pacemaker might only be capturing the movements of the person instead of the actual beats of the heart. If this is the case, you can move or reposition the person until the correct heart rhythm is shown. This is just one thing you can do to see if it makes a difference with the abnormal pacemaker rhythm that you received. In various situations, one of the main causes of troubleshooting pacemaker rhythms is an infection or physiological change that is occurring within the body. Sometimes it is an infection causing a physiological change. For example if the person is experiencing high sugar or lower oxygen levels, this can affect the normal rhythm of the temporary pacemaker. These will show up on an EKG and the cause for this will have to be discovered and rectified. Surprisingly, many people forget that a magnet can influence a pacemaker. Therefore, look for anything around the person that might be causing a magnetic field. This can be one of the causes of the abnormal pacemaker rhythms received.