UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Vascular

Title: Transvenous pacing

Keywords: Transvenous pacing (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/26/2009 by Rob Rogers, MD (Updated: 9/27/2022)
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Transvenous pacing

We had a very interesting case the other day in the ED. A 60 yo male presented after a syncopal episode. After arriving in the ED he was awake (with a pulse of 50) but then became asystolic, without warning. He then woke up and 10 minutes later became asystolic again. He then woke up again. So, we decided to put in a transvenous pacer.

Some considerations when putting in a transvenous pacer:

  • You need to use a small cordis (e.g. 6 French)
  • Right IJ is the preferred approach so that when the balloon is inflated you will have easy entry into the right heart
  • You will need transvenous pacing wires, obviously.
  • Once you open the wire kit, you will find 2 adaptors that fit over the two ports of the pacemaker wire. Snap them on, then these connect to the ventricular leads of the pacer box-ignore the atrial side. Here is the key: the POSITIVE lead connects to the PROXIMAL port on the pacemaker (PROXIMAL=POSITIVE) and the distal lead connects to the distal port.
  • Turn the pacer on then set rate to 80 or so. And start the mAmp at 20.
  • Advance the wire through the Cordis and after the wire has cleared the Cordis, blow up the balloon with a syringe and lock it.
  • The key is in determining capture: While the patient is on the monitor, and as the wire is being slowly advanced, look for pacer spikes and the development of wide complexes. This indicates electrical capture. Be sure to check for mechanical capture by checking the patient's pulse.
  • After capture, the mAmps can be turned down to the capture point.
  • DON'T forget that transcutaneous pacing is clearly the first option as this is easy to initiate.