British Heart Foundation
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Scared and in shock!

Hi, I’m Gabbi 51 years old, for the last 3 years I have been fainting in the night and have not known why. I had a heart loop recorder put in my body, on Thursday it happened again. Basically my heart slowed and stopped for 26 seconds before re starting. I have had a pacemaker installed yesterday the doctor says I have an electrical fault in my heart probably sick sinus syndrome. I feel upset and in shock.

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Hi Gabbi. I can understand how you are feeling.. What you are going through must be terrifying. Make sure that the Doctors give you as much information as you need.. I hope you have family, or someone who can give you emotional support. Things will get better. All the best. Chris.

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Thanks Chris, my family have been amazing although they are upset too. I have been given lots of info to read and I’m seeing my GP on Weds. Thanks for responding I was pretty low at the time, feeling bit better today.

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Hi Gabbi, welcome to the forum.

Sorry to hear of your diagnosis but glad it's been found and treated. Most heart issues come as a shock to most of us.

We have many members with pacemakers who will be along with their own experiences plus there is plenty of advice on the BHF website. The forum does tend to be quieter at the weekends, but please ask any questions you may have and we'll be happy to help

Take care

Mark

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Hi Mark, thanks for responding, yes I am grateful to the heart loop recorder I had installed which showed the issue and scale of it.

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The same happened to me I had my pacemaker fitted eight weeks ago. It has all healed well but I am struggling to deal with it mentally. I believe from others on here that is quite usual and takes a bit of getting used to. I am getting quite a bit of chest pain which I am sure is anxiety. I came on holiday to Lanzarote to relax but have now started to worry about flying home. I have flown many many times before and not experienced this. I will be seeing my GO when I get home and also have an appointment with the pacemaker clinic who are excellent. You will find a lot of support from people who have the same experience and am sure before too long we will forget we have them in us. Good luck and remember not to lift or raise your arm for a few weeks . Best wishes Heather

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Hi Heather, thanks for taking the time to respond especially as your on holiday in beautiful Lanzarote. We went there twice last year Jan and March Playa Blanca. Please don’t worry about flying home you will be fine. Your are probably anxious which is why your getting twinges. I feel like my PM keeps going off and making my heart go too fast. Only day 3 today so guess I will just have to get used to it, not being checked for 6/8 weeks. I am trying to keep my arm down it is tricky but I don’t want the wires coming out. Enjoy the rest of your holiday best wishes Gabbi

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Hi Gabbi1966 & HeatherForanSmith

I just wanted to offer some reassurance to you. It does get easier to get your head around things, it just takes time, sometimes a lot of it. Heart problems do come as a shock, it makes you scared, sad and your life flashes before your eyes but it also gives you an opportunity to be brave. The positive thing is that heart disease is something that can be managed and you can have things such as your pacemaker to protect you from your symptoms.

I've also got a form of sick sinus syndrome but essentially a cardiac conduction defect. Ive had a loop recorder then had a pacemaker implanted because of bradycardia and then finally after 4 months this was upgraded to an ICD because of ventricular tachycardia.

Physically it was a quick recovery for me thank goodness, despite a few weeks of settling in (twinges, pains etc) and the inevitable worry of dislodging wires etc.

As heather mentions above, the "brain" side of things is much much harder to overcome and I too have had holidays spoilt through severe anxiety. I went to Las Vegas for my 40th birthday and 11 hours on a flight got me so wound up I was a wreck for my whole birthday trip. It's such a shame. Also the first time I flew with my ICD was nerve wracking.

However I promise you it will get better. Months on from my implants I rarely think about my ICD. I can't feel it working and it's reassuring knowing it's there. I know that's not how you are feeling now but I promise you in time you'll get your head around it all and feel reassured again. It will take some time, it's taken the best part of a year for me, but you will get there.

Spatz76 x

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I have heart failure and have had my pacemaker and ICD for nearly five years now. Just wanted to stop by to echo the comments made above by Spatz76. I think we've all found our diagnoses hard to accept and any of us with a device fitted will have struggled mentally at some point, but we have all come out the other side feeling pretty positive. There are loads of us around this forum with devices fitted and we are very happy to answer any questions you might have, so please ask us anything you want to know. These early days are the hardest, but things will get better and easier from now on as you find out more about your condition and begin to have faith in your treatments and your body. Keep in touch and good luck with everything going forwards x

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Thank you Laura, I will keep in touch I can tell already it’s going to really help me if I talk to other people who have or are going through the same as me.

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It is reassuring to hear all the positive and realistic comments they are much appreciated. Leaving tomorrow and surprisingly feel very relaxed about it at the moment. This time tomorrow I will be back home. I have a few more trips planned as I do not intend to give into the worries and I am sure with moral support from people with shared experiences I will get to where some of you are now. Thanks again it means a lot xxHeather

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I managed the flight home with no anxiety at all. I am sure that all the positive comments helped so thank you. Still got a few chest issues at home but am going to give it until I have seen pacing clinic before I see GO again anxiety

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Well done Heather I’m glad all went well. Anxiety can be paralysing I know too well myself. . Keep positive and smiling :-)

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Hi Gabbi

My heart also kept stopping for about 7 or 8 seconds and restarting (thank goodness lol).

I had a major heart attack when I was 37 and then they put a reveal device in and got a phone call the cardiologist wanted to see me that day a few months later. She was so matter of fact we are keeping you in over night and tomorrow you'll be having a pacemaker. I said I have not had time to worry about it so she said even better. It was a real shock for me too.

I had heart failure but because of the medication my e.f has improved. Since I had a dvt in the subclavian vein which was very rare and then given the diagnosis of a clotting disorder a.p.s. It was nice to get a diagnosis instead of it is rare. 🤣.

I had another dvt near the previous one but now seeing a professor in London that specialises in this condition so hope to possibly have stents to make the arm drain better.

When I go through the airport Gatwick and Heathrow they have special machines now but coming back from Spain Lanzarote etc they let you through the gate and have got used to it now (bit like VIP access although that's what I tell myself)

Look after yourself and keep a sense of humour.

Blessings

Marc

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