Pacemaker, finally, in 3 weeks - Arrhythmia Alliance

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Pacemaker, finally, in 3 weeks

KRG13 profile image

Hi all, I'm back with another twist in my tale. Having been diagnosed with abnormal automaticity, I tried various drugs, but none helped. The last episode i had, i was able to take 4 ecg readings at home in 10 minutes, ranging from 26 to 220 bpm. Syncope came along.

They have finally decided on implanting a pacemaker in early Jan. I'm terrified and relieved in the same breath. Any experience with the surgery? Any tips on making it easier? Thank you in advance!

15 Replies

Hello KRG13

I had a pacemaker fitted in May this year after diagnosis of 'Mobitz Type 2 Heart Block'

I would say that there's no reason to be 'terrified' - I suppose the time in hospital will vary according to the condition being treated, but I was allowed to go home on the same day as the surgery.

The part I was most concerned about - two wires being fed through veins into the heart - wasn't a problem, I couldn't feel anything. The placing of the pacemaker itself was quite painful, although it is not put far under the surface, in my case just down from my left collar bone. The reason for the pain is that they can't give a general anaesthetic, because towards the end of the procedure you need to be conscious - they ask you to take deep breaths and cough, to make sure the leads are firmly attached in the heart. They apply local anaesthetic to the area where the cut is made - it's only about 6cm long - but they do need to use force to get the pacemaker into position, and that was the only thing I found difficult.

I was on the operating table for about 90 minutes - the thing that took the longest time was them adjusting the pacemaker settings while it was connected to equipment which allows them to see what the heart is doing on a screen.

I was then kept under observation for three hours, sent for an X-ray, and allowed to leave (I had to arrange for someone to collect me).

Afterwards I had quite a lot of bruising, and occasional pain for a couple of weeks, for example when moving in bed - this was from the surface cut, not from the heart. There have been no bad long-term effects, I'm generally not aware the pacemaker is there.

So I would say that as long as you are prepared for pain while the pacemaker is being put into place, the rest of the procedure is not unbearable.

I hope you feel better once it has been done.

37Polly profile image
37Polly in reply to CliftonGreen

Hmm. I was out for the whole thing. Woke up in recovery...went home an hour later. Your experience sounds a lot like my husband’s. I like mine better.😆

Best of luck, KRG13. I hope the pacer placement goes well and you find the relief you deserve! Please keep up posted : )

I'm lying in hospital now waiting to get mine fitted before the end of the week. I'll let you know how it goes.

I've got a loop recorder fitted now which, following a nocturnal faint, showed a pause of around 15secs. So they wouldn't let me leave! My bike is still chained up outside.

KRG13 profile image
KRG13 in reply to Bigdan

Uh oh! Sounds like a rough ride. Glad you're safely in the hospital though. Good luck with the implantation and hope you get better real fast :)

Bigdan profile image
Bigdan in reply to KRG13

Thanks, from everyone I've heard from, its all positive, so fingers crossed. Its a relief just to get results back that show something to treat.

Am PM powered now KRG, procedure was fine, chatting away about Christmas presents and what they were all getting from the chippy after getting me sorted.

Just under 2hrs, to implant PM and remove loop. Had supper once back on ward, xray 4hr after op and hopefully home in morning after PM check.

Bit of a sharp pain at one point as they reached the edge of the numbness but a wee blast of more anesthetic sorted that out. The pushing and pulling was a bit off putting but I was ready for that after having loop fitted. They get your heart to race at a couple of points to make sure the wires are joined up to the hearts electric circuit.

Feeling better already!

Best of luck,

Dan.

KRG13 profile image
KRG13 in reply to Bigdan

Hi Dan! So happy it went well :) What's your post OP process? Removable stitches or dissolvable ones? And when are they allowing you to resume work?

Home now, before discharge from hospital they checked the PM and they take over your pacing for a moment which feels very strange, all controlled by their laptop!

Need to take it easy for a while, not lifting left arm too. 4-6 week before cracking on. 1week til check up then next one is 3month.

Dissolvable stitches. Work probably 6-8 week away. Driving allowed after 1week..

So far so good.

KRG13 profile image
KRG13 in reply to Bigdan

Looks like I'm more prepared for my procedure now :) Thank you for sharing your journey. How is the post op pain? Is your arm in a sling or have they just asked you to take it easy?

Its been fine, just a couple of paracetamol before bed. No sling so just being careful. Have just been out with the dogs round the woods and was fine.

For post op- take a shirt to change into or full zip top so you don't have to lift your arm up to get it one.

Dressing is shower proof although I haven't bothered yet. They will take it off at follow up appointment next week. 1 week off driving officially but I'm not in any rush for that.

Just met a fella in the woods who i often speak to and he had one fitted 10years ago and never even crosses his mind.

Regards,

Dan.

KRG13 profile image
KRG13 in reply to Bigdan

Hey Dan! How have the last 2 days been ? Any surprises ? Do you feel your pacemaker kicking in? I've been told I shall be getting a device which transmits to a phone and then to the server so that the ep doc has access to the heart rhythm whenever something goes off. Do you keep data in the same way too?

Bigdan profile image
Bigdan in reply to KRG13

Good thanks. Just back from walking dog. No paracetamol last night, had a beer instead!

I can feel it kicking in actually which I wasn't expecting. I've checked on other FB forums and it appears quite normal.

Don't think I'm getting that software. Next step for me is back to cardiologist on Friday, then at 3 month post op.

KRG13 profile image
KRG13 in reply to Bigdan

Hi Dan! How have you been? How did the follow up go? Any things you need to keep away from now that the pacer is in place?

Bigdan profile image
Bigdan in reply to KRG13

Hi, follow up was fine, everything still in place! Paced to keep above 50 through the night and 60 through the day. It has been doing its business a few times and I could feel it to begin with but not so much now.

Only things I need to watch out for are personally are to do with work, I'm a firefighter and have transmitter/receiver stuff on our BA sets but that should be sorted by switching to the other shoulder strap. Other generic stuff is high voltage, magnetic and direct impact stuff.

Am generally feeling better but still quite tired but that could be due to being full of food and drink at this time of year?!

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