Back when I was a clinical educator at a pacemaker company, I could never find a book on cardiac pacing that I could use in a classroom. There were lots of books on cardiac pacing–excellent books, actually–but they were all written by experts for an expert audience. If you were a clinician who did not happen to know about pacemakers, there was simply no book out there that explained the basics. I wanted to find a “basic pacing” book that was written for an educated, intelligent audience.
In the old days, most people learned about cardiac pacing and defibrillation by working in a clinic. Sometimes, if you were lucky, you found a mentor who would devote some time to helping you understand how to read a paced ECG and what all those weird little spikes meant. And they would explain about thresholds and PVARP and sensing. In today’s hectic clinics, it is unlikely that many people will find mentors. In fact, a lot of device companies and pacing clinics expect you to arrive knowing the basics.
Around 15 years ago, I started thinking seriously about writing the book. In 2005, the first edition of The Nuts & Bolts of Cardiac Pacing was published. Since then, several more books have followed. Today, the pacemaker book is in its second edition. It’s been consistently in print for the last 12 years.
It is one of the books I use in my classes because it helps you understand the basic fundamentals of cardiac pacing (the “nuts and bolts”) even if you have never worked with pacemakers before. And if you are familiar with pacemakers, there are sections that may be of value because they teach you some of the nuances of the devices.
If I were to share one key thought from these books, it’s that in order to work with pacemakers and defibrillators, you have to take a systematic approach. It does not matter so much which system you use as it matters that you consistently use the same system. This holds true in patient examinations, device follow-ups, and even device troubleshooting. And it also holds true for how you learn pacing. Pacing is exciting, life-changing, life-saving therapy but it’s a complicated therapy. You have to understand how the heart works, how the device works, and how the two of them interact together. And you can only learn that well if you do it systematically.
Thinking of embarking on a new career? Over a million pacemaker patients around the world need our help to live fuller, happier lives with device-based therapy. Contact me at 713-486-1636 if you think you’d like to move forward with this great program and a new career.