Sentara Heart Device Clinic

For many people, the heart might need a little help keeping time — via implantation of a pacemaker to correct a beat that is too slow or a defibrillator to stop a rhythm that is dangerously fast. In either case, these devices can be critical to survival, keeping the heart running from one tick to the next for the rest of a person’s days.

But for those who require one of the cardiac devices, implantation is just the first step.

That’s where Sentara Heart Device Clinic at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital comes in. Operating out of the Sentara Heart Rhythm Center on the second floor of the hospital, the clinic sees more than 1,000 patients annually. Depending on the age and specific type of device, patients may need to have them checked between four and 12 times a year to ensure proper functioning and analyze data on how the device is responding to a patient’s heart rhythm.

During these check-ups, our team checks the battery function, makes sure the pacemaker or defibrillator is seeing the heart prop¬erly and operating correctly, and checks the memory of the device for arrhythmias. With defibrillators, they can also see if they fired.
When a person receives a pacemaker or defibrillator at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, the patient is automatically enrolled in the Sentara Heart Device Clinic. And new patients to the area who already have a device implanted can simply be referred to the clinic by their physicians.

To ensure delivery of the highest possible level of care, the Sentara Heart Device Clinic is staffed by highly trained, detail-oriented device specialists. Together, the clinic staff keeps hearts ticking properly for a whole community of patients, in a variety of circumstances, who depend on the devices for life itself.

Remote Device Follow-Up

The newest technology in device management, known as remote follow-up, has made device monitoring much more convenient for many outpatients. With remote follow-up, the patient hooks up a monitor and sleeps next to it at night. In most cases, the monitor communicates remotely with the implanted device and alerts Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital clinicians of potential problems via a website — allowing any problems that arise to be caught and dealt with quickly.

Remote follow-up is employed primarily for defibrillator patients, but some pacemaker patients are enrolled in the program as well.