how can you tell a pacemaker from a defibrillator on X-ray?

4 Apr

Your next patient is sick, altered, obtunded, coding, or just can’t remember whether that device in their chest is a ICD (defibrillator) or just a pacemaker.  They left their identifying card in their other wallet/purse.  Now what?

 

nice little tip from the Emergency Board Review videos:

pacer-icd1

if you get a chest X-ray, and you see bigger insulated leads, its probably a defibrillator.  

if not (you just see skinny leads), probably just a pacer.

pacer-icd2

 

References: Emergency Board Review, Cardiovascular Disorders III video; picture

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One Response to “how can you tell a pacemaker from a defibrillator on X-ray?”

  1. Joe doc May 1, 2015 at 05:44 #

    I would just ask the radiologist as they are trained to recognize and identify these devices.

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