AF Association
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Pacemaker sticks at 70BPM, even when exercising: advice please?

I'm hoping someone on here can offer me any suggestions. I had a pacemaker fitted a couple of months ago to resolve AF. Things are going well. Recovery making steady progress. However, I have one problem with it. It seems to run on two resting heart rates: 70 and 80. If it is going at 80, it's responsive, great in fact - the rate increases with exertion meaning I can enjoy an active lifestyle. But sometimes it drops to 70. I still feel fine, but if I try to do any exertion, it remains at 70. Which means I can't even walk up stairs without struggling. This happens daily, making it very hard to plan any sort of activity.

I'm due back into the clinic later this week; but the nurse I spoke to didn't seem too hopeful of resolving it. I'm only 43 - and usually have a very active, outdoor lifestyle.

Any information or experiences would be greatly appreciated.

4 Replies

I suspect that this initial set up was for test and development purposes. I understand that this is normal for the first few months after which some tweaking will be done to further tune it to your needs. I am not an expert on such matters but have read of this sort of problem many times.

Of course you will understand that the PM will not do anything for the AF which will continue in the back ground whilst the PM manages the left ventricle and ensures a steady blood supply.



Thanks Bob. Reassuring that you have read about this before. I'd suspected it is still early days, and some tweaks and fine tuning will be necessary.


I think they will be able to change the setting- I don't have a pacemaker but our support group had an excellent talk on this recently and adjustments are easily made



I have been pacemaker dependent since an AV ablation last October. Initially, my pm was set at 80, which was fine while I was doing physically undemanding things but, I found it very frustrating walking up an incline, climbing stairs and a quick sprint to catch a bus was merely a memory. It really upset me. Nobody told me that this is normal immediately following an ablation with a pacemaker because it gives the heart a chance to heal properly. When I returned to the hospital for a pm check a month after the procedure, the technician "tweaked" the pm so that it then had a lower hr of 60 and an upper rate of 130, which was great! I allowed me to do a lot of the things I had previously found too exhausting. Walking up stairs became a doddle! Then, when I went back for the second check, at the end of March, it was tweaked again to allow my body undertake anything that might require up to 155 bpm. I put this to the test a couple of weeks ago when we went to France to open up our summer house. I keep a bicycle there and, as we are situated in the Massif Central, which is very hilly, I had marked out my cycling achievement several years ago, before I had the real AF problems. There is a kilometer marker less than a km from my house that I used as a goal for riding without having to get off my bike to rest. It is mostly on an incline. I had to work at it for a whole summer to achieve that goal. Since then, it has been a mere memory until earlier this month when I tried it again, even having been inactive all winter because of an ankle problem. I actually DID it, first try! It was the most wondeful feeling. I am now looking forward to a summer of getting myself fit again. It is true that the AF is still there, but it is so good to not have to experience it and its side effects. I am consideably older than you, which is no doubt why I was given the pm in the first place (they figured the odds of having to replace it in 10 years time) but it has really given me a new lease on life. I say thank the Lord for modern medical technology and those who administer it! Good luck. Jos.

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