I've been told that my pacemaker is set to pace at 70 beats per minute. When I felt my pulse the rate was 54 beats per minute - surely this means that my pacemaker isn't working?

No!! We usually set a pacemaker to pace at 70 beats per minute, although we may choose different rates for different patients depending on circumstances.

However, whilst this is the rate that the pacemaker will start to pace at when required, we usually set a lower heart rate before the pacemaker will become active. Often we will set the pacemaker to pace at 70 beats per minute but not to start pacing until the patient's heart rate has fallen below 50 beats per minute. This is called hysteresis and is programmed in mostly so that patients aren't aware of their pacemeker keep cutting in and out when they are at rest and typically the heart rate will be about 60 to 70 beats per minute.

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