Understanding the Patient Notifier for Your Pacemaker or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)
In some of its pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), St. Jude Medical has provided an additional layer of support for patients living with these devices. The patient notifier is a feature designed to let you know if your device’s function has changed and may need attention from your doctor.
How it works
As you live your daily life, your pacemaker or ICD monitors and regulates your heart’s rhythm, with programming customized to meet your specific needs. Your doctor may also program your device to sense changes in how the device is working and to notify you when changes occur.
If your doctor has programmed your device in this way, you may sense this alert in one of two ways:
- Series of vibrations
- Two-tone audible signal
Patient notifier signals are rare and no cause for alarm: they do not mean that your device has stopped working. The signals will also not cause any problems in your device’s function, such as setting off an ICD shock or changing your pacemaker’s pulses.
However, if your device sends you an alert, it is important to respond in order to keep your device functioning as it should. When you first receive your device, you should discuss with your doctor what to do in case you receive an alert.
The vibration alert
The vibration alert is typically used in ICDs. It is gentle and painless, and feels like a cell phone vibration. Typically, the vibration lasts for six seconds, and is followed by sixteen seconds of silence. Then there is another six-second vibration and a ten-second wait. Then the pattern begins again.
Your device may vibrate differently if your doctor programmed it differently.
The audible alert
The two-tone audible alert is most commonly used in pacemakers and cardiac resynchronization therapy pacemakers (CRT-Ps). The alert lasts for six seconds.