Had pace maker fitted for persistent af - AF Association

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Had pace maker fitted for persistent af

Obviously I realise it won't stop AF but the worry was that the persistent tachycardia and af were damaging my heart. I am 61 with full time active job. Initially it worked well but now I can barely walk again after a pacemaker check and tweak three weeks ago. has anyone had to have numerous tweaks before it works properly? I am so very disappointed at the moment as I am as bad as I was before it was properly diagnosed.

5 Replies

Hello, your pacemaker will detect these episodes of tachycardia and the staff can alert your GP, if necessary. As you say, the device will not prevent them but medication will help keep them under control in combination.

There are numerous ways that the pacemaker can be programmed so it’s important to discuss the way you feel with the pacing team so they can personalise it to suit your requirements. However, if you have other health issues then it may be these which are making you feel unwell.

I hope you will soon feel more positive.


With you having been in persistent atrial fibrillation for so long, I wouldn’t expect your pacemaker to make any difference until you have had the AV node ablation. It’s normal for the rate to be set at a higher rate initially and the pacing rate to be turned down in stages. This is often the reason why those of us who have had pacemakers feel worse initially.


Hi Zara, I have had a pacemaker almost 2 years now and they have adjusted it twice by turning the activity level from high to medium high and both times my heart rate goes up just walking across the room and I get breathless. Both times I've asked them to set it back the way it was which took care of the symptoms. I received the Pacemaker after being diagnosed with SSS tachy Brady. I also have afib/aflutter.


Hi Zara. Yes I had a similar experience. I had been doing 148bpm for nine months prior to pacemaker and AV node ablation. Due to this they set my base rate at 80bpm so it wasn’t such a shock to my heart (most base rates are set at 60bpm) which was good and I got on with life. After three months I had a PM check and was reduced to 70bpm. It wasn’t good and heart rate was erratic which they didn’t understand. This went on for four weeks or so and I spoke to the head of physiology. She checked on my original settings and re-set the PM back to the original 80bpm base rate, increasing to 130bpm. It was all good again. Next check it was tweaked to respond quicker to movements and this was great. Now I do steps, brisk walk and climb heights.

I suggest you ask them to check your original settings done in the lab at the time of ablation and ask the. To re-set it to the same again. It’s also worth asking if you can have an appointment when there is a Rep visiting who may be able to tweak it to your individual need. Do you have a Medtronic or Boston Scientific PM. I would also request an echocardiogram to see what your ejection fraction is and whether it has altered since last time.

Hope this helps. Keep in touch.



Hi Zara. Sorry the other replies have just appeared and its looking like you haven’t actually undergone AV node ablation. A pacemaker can’t control tachycardia, only bradycardia. The only way of controlling fast rates is to ablate the AV node (your natural pacemaker) so the PM will control your base rate, usually between 60-80bpm. It basically responds to all your activities, allowing you to lead a normal life again. I now have normal heart function restored.

Look at all your options and see what is the best one for you.

Good luck, keep in touch



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