Blood clot following pacemaker insertion?

Posted by kathyhg @kathyhg, Dec 17, 2020

Hi, I am new to this forum but a regular on another forum which has been so helpful with information and so I thought I’d see if anyone can relate to my experience.

I got a pacemaker in December 2011 and a blood clot in my subclavien artery approximately 14 months later – which was manifested by a swollen left arm. At the time, my physician said that the blood clot originated in the artery because of the hardware and it was slow growing, which is why it took 14 months to cause the symptoms in my left arm. I was on warfarin for 6 months to dissolve the clot and have been on ASS 81 mg since then.

I wonder if anyone else has had this experience? I’ve recently seen a hematologist who was not familiar with this kind of situation so I’m second guessing myself. At the time that i got the blood clot, i recall reading that it isn’t uncommon for someone to get a blood clot after pacemaker insertion because of the hardware (foreign object in the artery). I’m wondering if I should see an electrophysiologist? A regular cardiologist?

I appreciate that no one can really give advice here but it would be helpful to know if this has happened to others and what was the treatment/care plan.

Thanks in advance,

Hi, my past experience is to go to a electrophysiologist. I am from Columbus, Ohio and found a wonderful electrophysiologist to handle my care with my pacemaker and dyfibulator. They understand the device and how your body accepts this device.
The Cardiologist are not educated enough to fully understand the operation of one let alone put one in….In fact, if you find yourself going into a A-FIB that is the physician you want on your team.
My Cardiologist thought he knew want he telling about A-FIB and did not have a clue…If you are searching for one make sure they are connected with a A-FIB Clinic. My electrophysioligist is the head of the department. Hope this helps. Good Luck! Maddie

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Hi @kathyhg, great to see you in the Heart Health group too.

According to this article on pacemaker implantation (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pacemaker-implantation/risks/) "A blood clot can develop in one of the veins in the arm on the side of the body where the pacemaker was fitted. This may cause some swelling in the affected arm, but it usually settles in a few days and is rarely a serious problem. In some cases, you may be given anticoagulant medication, which stops the clot getting bigger."

It sounds like the blood clot has since been resolved. Are you concerned about ongoing issues and that is why you're seeking a second opinion from an electrophysiologist? Has this issue been resolved? What concerns do you continue to have?

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@kathyhg Hi and I can help on the blood clot side but mine didn't happen during my pacemaker time but after my Heart Transplant. I had devoped blood clots in the arteries near my heart and the treatment was just asprin it took probably about 6 months and they finially went away. I didn't have to do anything except asprin and I'm on it even now 3 years later. Hope that may help. Now @colleenyoung is correct that electrophysiologist is best for pacemaker issues I had one for that period of time. but I also had and have a regular Cardiologist for the basic structure of the heart. But my current transplant cardiologist took care of me during the blood clot time since it was due to a heart transplant. The heart has become very specialized. Even among electrophysiologist there are different types those that handle afib and like mine he was more the lower part of the heart the ventracules.
Have a blessed Day
Dana

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Thanks to everyone for sharing their experience. The blood clot in my left arm occurred about 14 months after the pacemaker was inserted. The radiologist who did the ultrasound and went over results with me at the time said it was related to a slow growing clot in my subclavian artery. At that time, I saw a hematologist who put me on warfarin for 6 months and still on ASA 81 mg a day, over 7 years later. I have since moved to a different city and have different doctors.

The reason I’m questioning this now is that i recently saw a hematologist who said that it was very unusual to have a clot so long after the pacemaker insertion and that i should follow up with an electrophysiologist. He (the hematologist) had some concerns about me taking ASA for the rest of my life for something that occurred over 7 years ago.

It sounds like it would be a good idea to see an electrophysiologist. I go for my annual pacemaker check in early January so i will inquire then. I will read the article on the link from Colleen (thanks!) to educate myself before i go to my appointment. I’ve learned through experience that it is really important to educate myself before seeing specialists so that I can ask the right questions and respond thoughtfully when they provide answers/explanations.

Thanks again,

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