Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal


The "runaway pacemaker" is a serious pacing failure resulting from battery exhaustion or malfunction of some of the pulse generator components. Hypotension, rapid rate, dyspnea and palpitations were the main clinical features of one example of this iatrogenic arrhythmia presented here. When diagnosed, this condition must be treated as an emergency by disconnecting the subcutaneous wire electrodes from the unit and attaching them to a new pulse generator. The importance of frequent examinations with electrocardiographic recordings for the early recognition of this complication is emphasized.