Patients get chance to test drive having pacemaker

29th June 2015

A small group of patients, undecided about having a pacemaker, were able to test drive the devices before having them implanted permanently.

Details of the American study were shown at a European Heart Rhythm Association meeting in Italy last week.

The devices were temporarily fitted to patients with a slow heart rhythm and the heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation, and those who had serious reservations about having a permanent device.

The device generators were fixed outside the body for two to three weeks, instead of under the skin in the chest, with the pacing leads still inserted in a vein. The device was programmed in the normal way.

Researchers reported that all six patients were comfortable with the procedure and subsequently chose to have a permanent device. There were no complications from the test drive, including during device removal.

Lead author Dr Michael Giudici from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said that the test drive let patients experience pacing therapy and had been very popular. He thought it should be done more often.