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Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 1996 Nov;19(11 Pt 2):1791-5.

Holter recordings with continuous marker annotations: a new tool in pacemaker diagnostics.

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II. Medical Clinic, University Mainz, Germany.


Pacemakers provide marker annotations to facilitate the interpretation of pacemaker electrocardiograms (ECGs) and can be used in cases of suspected pacemaker malfunction or to understand pacemaker behavior. Due to the need for a programmer, only short-term evaluations are possible. We evaluated a prototype Telemetry Data Logger (TDL) designed to continuously transfer markers from the pacemaker to a conventional Holter recorder. A miniaturized telemetry receiving coil was attached to patient's skin above the pacemaker, which was programmed to transmit markers continuously. The TDL, which receives and converts markers into eight positive and eight negative deflections, ranging from -2.5 to +2.5 mV in amplitude, was connected to one channel of a conventional Holter recorder (Tracker 2). We performed 20 Holters in 13 patients who had implanted VDDR or DDDR devices from the same manufacturer and evaluated three versions of software. Marker transmission was possible in all patients, producing Holter ECGs with complete marker annotations. Artifacts occurred < 4% of the time. A 50-ms rectangular pulse was optimal for marker interpretation. The device, which was easy to use and well accepted by the patients, assisted in the diagnosis of inappropriate pacemaker programming, even when the surface ECG seemed to show regular pacemaker function. In the presence of low quality surface ECGs, marker annotations allowed the assessment of pacemaker function. The capability to annotate the onset of special algorithms, like tachycardia termination algorithms or mode switching, facilitates interpretation of pacemaker behavior, enabling a reliable assessment of the appropriateness of such algorithms.


The TDL effectively enables pacemaker markers to be inscribed onto a conventional Holter recording, facilitating the interpretation of pacemaker ECGs and the diagnosis of inappropriate pacemaker programming even when not discernible from the surface ECG alone.

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