Temporary Pacemakers in Critically Ill Patients: Assessment and Management Strategies

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Temporary cardiac pacing provides electrical stimulation to a heart compromised by disturbances in the conduction system causing hemodynamic instability. The use of a temporary pacemaker to treat a bradydysrhythmia or in some cases, a tachydysryhthmia, is undertaken when the condition is temporary and a permanent pacemaker is not necessary or available in a timely fashion. Temporary cardiac pacing is utilized in acute situations and for critically ill patient populations requiring immediate therapy. This article discusses the various indications and contraindications to temporary cardiac pacing therapy, reviews the different modalities of temporary pacemakers, and outlines critical considerations in the management of patients being treated with a temporary pacemaker.

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