I am in a bit of a dilemma.
I collapsed at work about a month ago and was taken to hospital. I then blacked out 3 more times in hospital within 6hours. They caught the final one on an ECG and it showed that I was having pauses of up to 20 seconds. I was kept in hospital for over 2 weeks on a constant ECG and with the exception of that 6hour period nothing happened and I felt normal.
The reason why I was kept in for so long is that the hospital didn’t really know what caused it and there was no space at the local specialist cardiology centre along with various other issues. I finally got to the specialist centre and they said I have a electrical issue with the control of the sinus node (strong vagel tone) most probably due to that I am extremely fit and race bicycles competitively.
This is the confusing bit.... they gave me a choice. I could have an ILR fitted and be monitored for a few months and see if it happens again and evaluate. They recommended this due to my age and that the issue has only occurred during a single period so far. The other option was to have a pacemaker fitted knowing that it would barely ever be used and it would be a back up just in case. I went for the ILR, purely for the fact that I couldn’t make the decision and it seemed like the sensible option for the time being. They said that I can have the pacemaker at any time should I need it or would be able to live a normal life with one.
So this is my quandary. I have had the ILR for a few weeks now and I have been fine. Although I have done no exercise, otherwise my life has been normal (ignoring the fact that I can’t drive) and I have gone back to work (desk job). The problem I have is that I want to be able to go back to cycling and maybe racing over the next few years as for me this is a normal life. I feel that if I get back to a similar level of fitness to before that the risk of the Sincope returning will increase and I will be back to square 1 or worse, the drs tend to agree with this.
So my dilemma is whether getting a pacemaker just as a back up so I can return to much more of a normal life to me is worth the risk of having the pacemaker at my age and the associated risk of replacement, failure etc.
Any advice from people with similar experiences is much appreciated! Sorry for the very long post!