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Arrhythmia Alliance
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Young 50 yr old pacemaker owner

I have sick sinus syndrome & have owned a pacemaker for 2 years. I occasionally experience what I describe as an 'electrical leakage' in my chest cavity. It feels like mini electric shocks & can last from 10 - 45 secs with varying degrees of severity. It causes me to stop whatever I am doing and let the moment pass - my consultant has tweaked my pacemaker many times & now says he cannot find any reason for it happening - does anyone else suffer from this?

4 Replies

Hi I'm a similar age with a similar diagnosis. I too have a pacemaker.

I get symptoms when I lie on my left hand side which feel the same as the sensations you describe. I think my sensations are quite common though.

Could it be linked to where your wires are placed or certain positions you get into? ... and have they checked the position of the wires to ensure that they are held in place?

Doesn't sound like something you could resolve with tweaking and programming.

What caused your sinus node disease? Do you mind me asking. We're both very young for it!



Hi, thanks for replying.

I know what you mean about the positions as I too have to be a little mindful when lying on my left side however, the symptoms happens when I am lying flat on my back or just standing/sitting normally.

I have been tweaked/programmed many times to the point where they say that the pacemaker/heart is fine - my consultant wants to investigate respiratory problems but I am not convinced.

Good point about the wires, they go from the pacemaker over to the right side of my chest cavity & back so maybe some leakage but seems doubtful.

I have no idea what caused the SSN, noone seems to want to commit to a specific cause. My father died at 53 with heart failure having survived 8 years post 3 heart attacks & he was seemingly fit & healthy so it probable that he had the problem but never got it diagnosed & therefore treated!

I am wondering if it is linked to stimulants in my diet (caffeine, sugar alcohol etc) so am trying to track that at the moment.

I am female & not in the menopause yet so also wondered about hormonal changes being a factor...

Do you know what caused your original problem?

And are you a lady?


I'm 36 and have had my pacemaker for 7 months. Mine was fitted under left rib cage with a second incision where most people usually have their fitted near collarbone and I do still get a feeling of rhythmic twinging at the collarbone site. I don't tend to notice it unless I am sat watching tv but it has taken some time to get used to it. I read a bit around and thought it might be where the electric pulse triggers muscle to move but when I asked at the hospital they said that only really happens when you have more than one lead (and I only have one). So if you have more than one lead, perhaps that might be a cause? (can have up to 4 leads covering each chamber apparently!).



It does sound like you have investigated every possible cause. It sounds unlikely to suspect a respiratory cause if it's occasional rather than constant to me....but what do I know?! I expect it will be one of those things that they will eventually get put down to "individual sensitivity"..... and the cause will never be found. Annoying though!

My problems came on after taking an antidepressant which has since been linked to cardiac conduction difficulties. Getting the medical profession to agree to that as a cause has been impossible and I've been diagnosed with both autonomic nervous system issues / syncope and after questioning this for years, sinus node disease. Neither make sense. Annoying for me too!

Life goes on I suppose. At least your issues have been diagnosed, unlike your father. Is sinus node disease hereditary? Heart attacks can cause rhythm disturbances. The question to ask at a guess, is did his conduction issues happen post heart attack or did he originally have them and they were the cause of the heart attack because they were not treated or recognised?

I thought SND was more to do with wear and tear or damage caused by certain drugs and treatments. I think that the other things you mention hormones, stimulants, caffeine etc all have an effect when you have an arrhythmia, but I don't know if their presence is sufficient to slow your heart beat down. I imagine they can disrupt it temporarily though!

Perhaps somebody else will know?



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