Epicardial Pacing and Care

Epicardial Pacing and Care

Epicardial pacing wires are commonly positioned on the epicardial (outer) surface of the heart after cardiac surgery to diagnose and treat arrhythmias, which may be caused by electrolyte imbalances, inflammation, injury, edema, and hypothermia. Depending on the needs of the patient, the surgeon usually places positive and negative electrodes on both the right atrium and the right ventricle. These electrodes are loosely sutured to the epicardial surface and brought out through the chest wall through small incisions.

In the event that pacing is required, epicardial pacing wires are connected to the pulse generator of a temporary pacemaker. When the patient becomes hemodynamically stable, the wires can be removed. Complications following epicardial pacing wire removal occur more frequently in patients with a history of heart failure and repeat heart surgery. Historically, only doctors or
physician assistants were allowed to remove epicardial pacing wires; however, specially trained critical care nurses can now safely remove them.

Preparation of Equipment

For Insertion

Insert a new battery into the pulse generator and make sure it’s functioning properly.

For Removal

Check that the emergency cart with temporary transcutaneous or transvenous pacing equipment is readily available.

Jul 21, 2016 | Posted by in NURSING | Comments Off on Epicardial Pacing and Care

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