Pacemaker recipients: Looking for support from others

Posted by balubeje @balubeje, May 25, 2016

I am coming on a year post op having a pacemaker placement for bradycardia. I would be interested in a support group with the same concerns. I think a support network would be so beneficial.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Heart Rhythm Conditions Support Group.

I am 77, a woman with afib and flutter. I take 180 mg diltiazem in the morning and if a fib strikes (always when I am resting or asleep) I take a rescue 30 of diltiazem followed up in an hour if it is not successful with 25 of metoprolol. Not sure what to do if that doesn't work as I hate going to the ER.
Suggestions?

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@sramsaier

I would like to know if anti depressants affect a pacemaker

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aramsaier, My caregiver at Mayo for psychiatric care and medications prescribed an anti depressant some time back. It was going to affect the electrical signal to my heart and increase delay.

She checked with my heart failure doctor and EP to make sure they would approve and did. Really doesn't affect your pacemaker but the electrical signals to your heart and like mine would increase a delay in on the signals.

Please check with your EP (electrophysiolgist) to see if it will have any affect on the electrical signals from heart as everyone is different and what might not be a problem for me could be for you. My heart is paced at 70 bpm to help with PVCs normal pace is around 54.

I did improve my mental outlook when I got the prescription. I was suffering from PTSD which developed into an anxiety/panic disorder which made doing anything socially very hard. And what caused my PTSD? Several years ago had 5 ICD shocks over a 24 hour period. Medications and reprogramming ICD/Pacemaker along with the anti depressant helped me out of it. Had occasionally problems since then but lately (and will knock on wood) been without issues.

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@balubeje

I read a little from each of the posts you mentioned. Not quite sure how to tag on with them or vice verse. Several of these posts go back several years (2012). I'm really not sure exactly what I am expecting to learn just thought there must be others who have/had similar reasons for a pacemaker as mine and wondered if the healing process, the internal sensations run the same for everyone, how to know if something is abnormal. When to be concerned if there is a when would I know it.

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I would like to know if anti depressants affect a pacemaker

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@bill0996

So, am I to understand that a pacemaker has an exercise mode? What is the function of this?

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bill0996. I have a Boston Scientific. The newer ones have sensors. Mine had a motion sensor (newer ones have different type sensors) and when motion went up heart pacing would increase. It can be set how sensitive it is and how much it rises.

I did not get any benefit from it meaning I did not feel any different during exercise. It was working as they could see it from my pacemaker checks. On the negative side I started having some episodes right after they turned it on. I had them turn it off and the episodes (knock on wood) stopped. Can's say it was the cause but stopping it stopped the episodes.

I have tons of PVCs, my heart is paced to 70 (resting pulse 54) to help reduce PVCs and told a very strong sinus mode (natural pacing of heart). What I worried about was so many electrical signals coming in was causing heart to go awry. Again not a EP but since it was not helping me exercise (I am very active and do Sprint Triathlons) had it turned off and episodes stopped.

Your EP and Pace Clinic should have advised you of this function if you have it in yours. If you have a pacemaker you can always go on their web site and put in your model and date and can get a lot of information on your pacemaker and ICD if you have both (I do).

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I’m a 77 yr. old female who had a 4.5 second complete electrical blockage on New Year’s Day and had a pacemaker installed on the 5th January. I wanted to add that it also has a sleep setting. (They set everybody up for a 60 BPM minimum at the outset) My normal heart rate when asleep had varied between 51 and 56 over the years, and I was conscious of pacing as I tried to get to sleep, so I asked the technician at the heart center to set me down to 50, which she did. At the high end (exercise setting?) my FitBit often shows me in the red zone now when I don’t feel my actual exertion warranted it, and the FitBit sleep function doesn’t seem to give me credit for any deep sleep anymore, which is disturbing. I’ve been very grateful for this online support group’s comments, as I’ve had PVCs for years, then concurrent diagnoses last winter of LPGERD and the electrical blockages, then a paroxysmal A-fib diagnosis this summer. Born with a benign double murmur, which I have no idea whether it relates to anything else that’s going on. Lastly, I’m very interested in the gastro-cardiology linkage that was mentioned here. I’ve suspected some kind of a connection there, and indeed learned this summer I have a hiatal hernia. So much to learn and figure out. Thanks to all for your comments.

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So, am I to understand that a pacemaker has an exercise mode? What is the function of this?

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Just adding my $0.02 …
Going on 7 months since my pacemaker/ICD was installed. It doesn’t bother me at all and has made a significant improvement in my PVC burden (was 15% and very noticeable, now 2% and I barely notice them). The other benefit is that my EP said I could stop taking blood thinner.

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@bill0996

My implant is 7 weeks today. Set at 60/130. My history is Left Bundle Branch Block, 18 years ago, Bradycardia, AFIB and an ablation 3.5 years ago. Diagnosed with Chronotropic Incompetence in early Aug with pacemaker implant on 8/31 For me, when HR gets to about 110 I start sucking for air and at 120 I really stress. I was and will return to my prior very active life using the 220 minus age x’s 85% for HR ceiling. I wear a Fitbit and monitor my HR with any exertion. It is the new normal.

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It will take some time to adjust to having one. I have had one for 17 years and unless doing certain things I do not even know it is there.

I did not like the exercise mode on my pacemaker and had them turn it off. I think was adding to issues with PVCs. I exercise every day 1-3 hours at moderate level and do sprint triathlons. I do them at moderate level. I do not use my heart beat as an indicator of my exercise level as medications I take lower my pulse rate. I use exertion of breathing. I know when I move from areobic to annerobic based on breathing exertion.

I too started off way back in 2000 with a left bundle branch block that evolved into heart failure. But right side of heart is normal and I was told by my heart failiure doctor that my body compensated very good with the heart failure probably because of a I was an avid exerciser all my life.

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Had an ICD/Pacemaker since 2006. On my 3rd one. If I did not have it would not be here today. Had several shocks over the 17 years. My EP and Pace Clinic are still adjust settings to prevent the causes of the shocks. Never had a shock during exercise only at rest.

I was told by my EP that a ICD/Pacemaker is like having your own EMT in your chest ready to respond. That is correct. My pacemaker is set for 70 bpm. My resting pulse is low 50s but I get a lot more PVCs at that rate so we raised to 60 then to 70 to find a rate that reduced PVCs.

For those getting them or just got them I was told about a year and it will become natural to have it. When you first get one you are going to feel the pacemaker in your chest as is a foreign object. After time the body will encapsulate the pacemaker and the discomfort and feelings are greatly reduced. I would watch lifting your hands over your head on the side of pacemaker as in mine it will move and cause discomfort.

Also do you play tennis, fish, anything that you move your arms in a hard jerking motion. This can cause problem with wires being pulled. I mentioned this as my original wire to LV was pulled out during tennis. I stopped playing tennis and started doing Sprint Triathlons. Some say what about swimming. If you do freestyle correctly the strokes you make are very controlled and smooth.

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I got a pacemaker 3 months ago . I think it’s a great idea a support group for pacemakers . I love mine . It was such a change in my life . And people need to know how others feel and how to they adapt !!!yes!!!

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