Pacemaker to be fitted : So after... - British Heart Fou...

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Pacemaker to be fitted

Westie2012 profile image

So after having a heart monitor on for 7 days and not expecting to hear anything for a few months I had a phone call from the cardiologist just 4 days after returning the monitor. It showed pauses of 6 seconds. He told me that if I was 65 I’d need a pacemaker no hesitation but as I’m 47 I’d need it replaced too many times so he’d discuss the options at my appointment. 10 days on I’ve had my appointment today and as I’m getting a few symptoms with the pauses he’s decided a pacemaker is the only option. I was expecting to be just given medication so really shocked to be told that. I’d love to hear from others that have been in my position , just still in shock at the moment. I’ve been told to just carry on as normal and I’ll have it fitted in 4/5 weeks. I’m starting a placement for my teaching assistant course in 2 weeks, should I mention it? Thanks for any advice x

16 Replies

That's good, it should make a big difference. You will need to be careful for 6 weeks after it's fitted, no lifting your arm above shoulder height and no heavy lifting !

Westie2012 profile image
Westie2012 in reply to bantam12

Thank you for your advice x

Kristin1812 profile image
Kristin1812Heart Star

I think you should tell your employer, but just my view. I sure someone who knows employment Law and liability etc will give more authoritative advice.

It must have all been a great shock.

Tell us how you get on.

Thank you, my placement is voluntary so not sure what they will say. Waiting for my date before I speak to the school about it.

Not got a pacemaker myself but have similar results due to the Bisoprolol I am on to stop a fast heart rate, as I think I mentioned in a reply to you before. I may need one but I am not overly concerned if needed. But it is significant and if this is your first medical intervention it will be a shock and this is all normal, so be kind to yourself.

As also mentioned I know a few people who have them, albeit a couple of years older but it hasn't stopped them living a normal life. Don't be unduly worried, it will be there to help you and your heart, the procedure is reasonably straightforward and is done under local and you are out the same day. As the other poster says, take it easy for a few weeks and life is back to normal. Have fun going through airport scanners and avoid induction hobs and you're good as new!

No need to mention it to your placement really is my view as it is temporary, unless you want to or if the job would require you to or is physical at the time of the fitting. None of their business really. Good luck!

bantam12 profile image
bantam12 in reply to Thecyclist

"No need to mention it to your placement ....."

It will have to " mentioned" because she will need time off and have to be very careful for 6 weeks afterwards, arm movement can be quite restricted so not easy.

Thank you for your advice x

I had a pacemaker fitted two years ago and although I had a small issue after the op I heard from lots of others that didn’t have any problems at all, including my father in law. I too had heart blocks and I feel that once the wound had healed I did feel less tired. You will certainly have to mention it to your employer, you may feel pretty tired after the op, even though it is a relatively simple procedure, I found that my first week or so, I could sleep on a clothes line. You will not be able to lift your arm for 6 weeks after the op and no heavy lifting.

Westie2012 profile image
Westie2012 in reply to Kimkat

Thank you for your advice it’s most helpful x

I understand your shock and bewilderment, but look on your situation with optimism as a gateway to the rest of your life. From what you say, I imagine that you are being offered a CRT-D. This will give you the added surety of immediate help if your heartbeat pauses for too long. As others have said, you must be open with your employer but they should have no reason for concern after your recovery period (the DVLA will take a particular interest, too).

I'm 65 and had my biventricular CRT-P fitted around 18 months ago after a cardiac ablation for a complex arrhythmia which compromised my AV node (this was anticipated before the procedure, so was not unexpected). Although still on some medications, I feel I have my life back and have no regrets at all. I have no problem walking or going for long (20 mile) bike rides on the many cycle-ways where I live. I really don't feel limited in what I can do at all. I am fortunate in that I have been able to retire a little early.

I had my first visit to the local pacemaker clinic on Monday and was told that there is still 10 years of battery life remaining. Although medics consider any invasive treatment to carry the risk of infection, fitting a pacemaker is a common and well-understood procedure with very low risk. Subsequent replacement should be even more straightforward if the existing leads are used.

Best wishes.

Westie2012 profile image
Westie2012 in reply to IanMK

Thank you so much for your advice it’s so helpful x

I’ve had a pacemaker since 2008. Bit of a shock to be told it was needed after I had had a tilt table test. Like you I was expecting medication. Follow the advice you will be given after it has been implanted and you will soon forget it is there - in about 6 weeks. When you have it in place you should feel reassured and more confident. There is no reason to tell anyone in particular though in the UK you have to apply to DVLA to get permission to drive and agree to attend your annual hospital check. At the check you will be told the level of the battery and how near you are to needing it changed - possibly 8-10 years or maybe longer. The leads remain in place and they just change the small box containing the battery. The box is just a bit bigger than a match box and goes in under your skin leaving a small scar.At the hospital I attend It is done as a ‘procedure’ not an ‘operation’. Cath Lab not Operating Room. Day case or overnight stay at the most. Very best wishes to you as you wait - I know it feels very daunting at first.

Westie2012 profile image
Westie2012 in reply to Eadaoin

Thank you for your advice,,really appreciate it x

Thank you for your advice, hope you are ok now. I hadn’t thought about afterwards as I’ve been trying to get used to the idea of needing a pacemaker.

Buddy00 profile image
Buddy00 in reply to Westie2012

I had my pacemaker fitted just over 2 weeks ago . I’m 55 , recovery hasn’t been to bad , it’s still sore around the implant area and you’ve got to be careful not to lift your arm up otherwise you may dislodge the leads. If you’ve not got a manual job then you shouldn’t have too much trouble with work.

Just to update everyone, Wednesday 25th I had my pacemaker fitted. It was a long emotional day, I cried just before they gave me the sedation as I was fully aware of everyone moving round the room, listening to the instruments to be used and it got very scary that this was the moment I’d been dreading for the last few days. I must have fallen fast asleep as I only woke up when I could feel the last few stitches were being put in . I felt really queasy from the morphine and washed out afterwards. Very painful and really drowsy for the rest of the night, keep getting a stinging feeling where the pacemaker is, had to go back to A&E last night as I keep feeling jolts down my left side, pacemaker is fine, leads still in place thankfully. Still getting these jolts on and off, I have to ring the cardiologists secretary tomorrow . I’m glad the procedure is over with and I haven’t felt dizzy or breathless which is great. I’m finding it difficult to look at the wound, the thought of having this little box inside me and the appearance right now makes me feel very queasy. Very emotional still at times.

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