No improvement with pacemaker

Posted by corjianne @corjianne, Sun, Dec 1 2:33pm

Hello everyone, I had a pacemaker implanted on Oct. 9. I have congestive heart failure with an EF of 20. Since the procedure, I haven’t noticed any improvement with my shortness of breath and fatigue. My cardiologist says it will take time (I had two blood clots after the procedure) but everything I’ve researched says I should be feeling much better by now. Do any of you have experience with pacemakers? Thanks.

Hi @corjianne, I moved your message to the Heart Rhythm Conditions group so that you can more easily connect with others who are living with a pacemaker like @dragonass @lmclaugh @lynjolo @exboater @soph @lisa7 and others. You can read their stories in this discussion:
– Pacemaker recipients https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/pacemaker-recipients

Back to you, corjianne. Recovery after pacemaker surgery takes time and everyone is different. It is hard to be patient. Are you noticing any improvements at all? Are you able to do light physical activity?

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Thanks, Colleen, I can do very light physical activity, but then I get short of breath. This doesn't seem right after all this time.

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It takes about 4 mos or more to feel a difference in fatigue and SOB. EF is low so that doesn t help. What does help is DAILY consistent exercise, such as walking a certain amount of distance at same rate every single day, 7 days a week. . And equally important, strength resistance exercise for arms and legs, and abdomen . Your heart needs the CONSISTENT daily walking routine to strengthen its muscle. No matter how slow you walk consistency is key. Same amt of walking same rate every single day. Once your heart becomes accustomed, you can gradually increase time and how fast you walk. Strength resistance exercise is equally important. Same amount every single day. Combined with ideal weight and nutritious eating , no alcohol and no caffeine, should start to see improvement. BUT, must be consistent every single day.

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your EF is very low, no wonder that you feel tired. As you have been told, the pacemaker is a recorder as well, so the cardiologist can see, what happened in the past. For example, it may show a lot of A-Fib's. 40 % of the pacemaker-recipients show them. Normally you don't feel them. Cardiologists have a lot of possibilities to adapt the pacemaker to your need. That takes time. You did not mention your additional medication.
I would recommend you to ask your cardiologist, if a medication with digitoxin (contraction of the heart muscle) could improve your EF. It is a old medication, but now there is a clinical study (Germany), whether the digitoxin can reduce the admissions of the number of patients with heart failure in the emergency of a hospital. As I already posted , the treatment with digitoxin ( I have a pacemaker also), had a positive effect on my heart function.
yoanne

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@maryrohrer1

It takes about 4 mos or more to feel a difference in fatigue and SOB. EF is low so that doesn t help. What does help is DAILY consistent exercise, such as walking a certain amount of distance at same rate every single day, 7 days a week. . And equally important, strength resistance exercise for arms and legs, and abdomen . Your heart needs the CONSISTENT daily walking routine to strengthen its muscle. No matter how slow you walk consistency is key. Same amt of walking same rate every single day. Once your heart becomes accustomed, you can gradually increase time and how fast you walk. Strength resistance exercise is equally important. Same amount every single day. Combined with ideal weight and nutritious eating , no alcohol and no caffeine, should start to see improvement. BUT, must be consistent every single day.

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Mary, Thanks very much. I'm not consistent, but it may help aiming for that. It's good to know that I can walk slowly and it will be good for me.

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@maryrohrer1

It takes about 4 mos or more to feel a difference in fatigue and SOB. EF is low so that doesn t help. What does help is DAILY consistent exercise, such as walking a certain amount of distance at same rate every single day, 7 days a week. . And equally important, strength resistance exercise for arms and legs, and abdomen . Your heart needs the CONSISTENT daily walking routine to strengthen its muscle. No matter how slow you walk consistency is key. Same amt of walking same rate every single day. Once your heart becomes accustomed, you can gradually increase time and how fast you walk. Strength resistance exercise is equally important. Same amount every single day. Combined with ideal weight and nutritious eating , no alcohol and no caffeine, should start to see improvement. BUT, must be consistent every single day.

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How much walking do you do per day, or miles

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@yoanne

your EF is very low, no wonder that you feel tired. As you have been told, the pacemaker is a recorder as well, so the cardiologist can see, what happened in the past. For example, it may show a lot of A-Fib's. 40 % of the pacemaker-recipients show them. Normally you don't feel them. Cardiologists have a lot of possibilities to adapt the pacemaker to your need. That takes time. You did not mention your additional medication.
I would recommend you to ask your cardiologist, if a medication with digitoxin (contraction of the heart muscle) could improve your EF. It is a old medication, but now there is a clinical study (Germany), whether the digitoxin can reduce the admissions of the number of patients with heart failure in the emergency of a hospital. As I already posted , the treatment with digitoxin ( I have a pacemaker also), had a positive effect on my heart function.
yoanne

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Thank you, Yoanne. I'll look into that medicine asap.

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@penn1023

How much walking do you do per day, or miles

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Penn1023, I have painful legs so my walking is extremely limited. Some days I don't walk at all. How important is walking?

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@corjianne

Penn1023, I have painful legs so my walking is extremely limited. Some days I don't walk at all. How important is walking?

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What is causing the painful legs?

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Penn1023, I think it's from getting older and not walking much because of SOB.

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@corjianne

Penn1023, I think it's from getting older and not walking much because of SOB.

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Ok. The CHF itself doesn’t cause pain in legs, just lack of exercise.

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