The device clinic at the Yakima Heart Center was started in 1982 for the purpose of serving and caring for patients after the placement of a pacemaker or an Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD).
The clinic is directed by Kevin Foley, M.D., F.A.C.C., cardiologist recognized by the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology and Dao Gia Pham, M.D., cardiologist specializing in Electrophysiology.
A pacemaker is a small device that is placed under the skin near your heart to help maintain an adequate heart rate through electrical impulses. Normal aging of the heart or damage to the heart muscle can disrupt the normal rhythm of your heart causing it to beat too slowly or irregularly. A pacemaker can help control your heart rate.
An ICD (implantable cardiac defibrillator) is a device similar to a pacemaker, but is used in patients at risk for sudden cardiac death. The device is implanted in the chest and can detect cardiac arrhythmias and, if necessary, treat them with pacing, cardioversion or defibrillation.
Another type of pacing device is a biventricular pacemaker which is a treatment option for people with heart failure whose hearts’ electrical systems have been damaged. Unlike a regular pacemaker which only stimulates one chamber of the heart, a biventricular pacemaker stimulates both of the lower chambers of the heart to make the heart beat more efficiently. Because this treatment resets the ventricles’ pumping mechanism, it is also referred to as cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT).
The appointment will take approximately 30 minutes. You will meet with the pacemaker technician who will sit you in a comfortable chair and place a monitor over your pacemaker or ICD which checks the function of your device, lead integrity, battery status, and gathers other diagnostic information important to your care. This appointment is painless and perfectly safe. There is no preparation required for this appointment and it will not interfere with the rest of your daily routine.
The frequency of visits varies among patients and is determined by specific needs including the type of device that is implanted and the cardiologist’s recommendations. Typically, a patient’s schedule will include both clinic visits and home monitoring services.