Pacemaker : So after having a heart... - Arrhythmia Alliance

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Pacemaker

Westie2012
Westie2012

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 as 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

9 Replies
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I had a pacemaker fitted recently, I'm 77, the procedure itself is no big deal, I was chatting with the surgeon whilst he was doing it. Once completed you don't know it's there.

In my case it will kick in if my heartbeats go below 40 but it hasn't needed to kick in once during the past 3 months.

In your case it will overcome the problem of the pauses when needed. So you should live to a ripe old age.

I was told the battery wouldn't need replacing for 10 years+ and the replacement procedure is even simpler than inserting it in the first place.

If you have any worries about it ask your cardiologist. Otherwise thank your lucky stars you're living in the 21st century.

Hi, the PM is a wonderful invention. I had mine fitted at 50 and I was soon living a full life again.

I’m surprised that age was a factor in the decision in your case. I’m not a doctor, but I can’t imagine a better alternative than a PM if you have been having pauses.

I’d like to know more about your symptoms. Please wrap yourself in cotton wool between now and the date of your procedure. I blacked out four times, suffering two head injuries, one serious. I was not permitted to drive. I’m a little concerned if you’ve been told to carry on as normal.

I was discharged same day, but I felt that it was too early. I was not permitted to lift my left arm for six weeks. I couldn’t drive for a few weeks. This is all precautionary advice, however. I expect that you will soon bounce back. Re: your placement, I always favour disclosure, certainly when you have a firm date. It depends how long your placement lasts though before I can give a definitive opinion.

Head over to Facebook and join the Pacemaker UK group which is very supportive indeed.

Take care.

Westie2012
Westie2012 in reply to Stanley18

Thank you so much for your lovely reply, it’s very helpful and appreciated. It all started last summer, I’d gone swimming and started getting chest pains, could really feel my heart pounding and felt dizzy. Carted off to hospital in my swimsuit 😳 I was told it was a problem with my blood pressure and sent home as I was feeling better by the time I’d actually got to hospital an hour later. I’d been getting chest pains on and off, was assessed on cardiac assessment unit twice, all results ok. As I still wasn’t feeling well I have been back to my gp and A&E numerous times , told it was just anxiety, I knew it wasn’t as I’m a fairly chilled person. Anyway after a while I had a heart scan and X-rays, all ok however a 24 hr ecg picked up pauses of 4 seconds. I was going to be discharged but as I was still getting a few symptoms cardiologist said he’d see me in a few months. I started getting breathless a lot even just walking upstairs, got signed off work. Fast forward to this year pre covid and at one go appointment I got so out of breath I couldn’t speak normally. Gp wrote to hospital, finally had a 7 day holter monitor. I wasn’t expecting to hear anything for months and then to be told nothing had shown up and I’d be discharged. 4 days after returning the monitor I had a call back from cardiology. Looking back over the years occasionally if I’d had a cold drink everything would go black momentarily, didn’t think much of it, that happened a few weeks back and lasted for what felt like ages which was very scary as I just fell back on the sofa, luckily I was sitting down at the time. Other symptoms were just a funny sensation of a fuzzy head is the best way I can describe it, couple of times if I’ve been shopping I’ve felt really off balance and had to grab hold of something to stop myself falling over. How did you get on after for getting dressed if you can’t lift your arm? Thank you again for your most helpful advice .

Stanley18
Stanley18 in reply to Westie2012

You’re very welcome. That funny sensation, I’ve felt it many times and I know it to be pre-syncope, I’m either going to black out or I nearly black out. I’ve described it as an aura, very strange indeed, but I heard it described best of all recently as like deja vu. Does that make sense?

This is why you must take care. I tumbled down the stairs and into the edge of a chest of drawers 🤕

Showering and getting dressed are a bit awkward, but you’ve got your other arm. I would sometimes forget! I would wake up horrified in the night with my arm above my head! 😂

Two messages from me then: 1) Take utmost care until your procedure 2) Don’t worry about living with a PM. I live a perfectly normal life. It really is the most marvellous invention ever. Welcome to the club ❤️

Westie2012
Westie2012 in reply to Stanley18

Thank you so much for your helpful advice and information, it’s such a strange sensation and very difficult to explain how I feel, I haven’t felt too well the last couple of days and the funny sensation has been happening quite a lot when I’ve been out shopping so a little concerned especially now I know there is a problem causing it. I’ve been told it was just anxiety many many times so kind of a relief knowing what was causing me to feel that way.

Hello, I had a pacemaker fitted last year at age 65 after wearing a heart monitor, and like you wasn't expecting it to be necessary. I didn't have pauses, I had an unpredictable heart irregularity caused by 'Mobitz 2 Heart Block', which I understand can worsen and lead to blackouts. I wasn't feeling ill, just a little light-headed at times, which cleared up as soon as the pacemaker was fitted. They do seem to be concerned about cutting down the number of procedures a patient will need - I was told I was one of their younger patients(!) and that they changed the pacemaker settings to extend the battery life. Like Stanley18, I wasn't kept in hospital overnight.

The fitting took about 90 minutes, and at the time I wished it had been done under general anaesthetic, which isn't possible because once the leads are in place, to make sure they are securely attached, they need to ask the patient to breathe deeply and cough. I felt fine afterwards, and was required to rest for several hours before being allowed to leave - they

check that someone can collect the patient, and that the patient won't be alone overnight.

I would say that you will need to tell someone before your teaching assistant placement - as well as the question of raising your left arm, there's advice about avoiding lifting for a while, so there could be a problem if you needed to move any school equipment.

I'm sure your procedure will go well, it seems to be very common so surgeons have a great deal of expertise.

Thank you for your advice it’s really helpful

Hello so sorry to hear you feeling so unwell. I was in full time work 14 years ago when I Had my pacemaker fitted I was 44 years old at the time. I’m now 4 years in on my 2nd battery!! I had sick leave from work for recovery then went back they were very understanding. I can’t really see how you can’t tell them at your placement.

You don’t have to tell everyone but strongly advise you speak to your manager or HR department you will be supported.

You will need time off and you will take some time to adjust. You won’t be able to drive for a while and had to inform DVLA . and there are certain things you can’t do ie lifting arms up for around 6 weeks, lifting things for around the same length of time. This is why you need to speak to the placement manager as it may affect your duties temporarily

But my life has changed I’m alive with my pacemaker it’s part of me of who I am now it’s become normal.

I had gone to hospital for tilt table test and immediately I passed out on it so cardiologist straight away said pacemaker needed I think I was done back then within 2 weeks. You will have a better quality of life with it but don’t rush the recovery. It’s a simple procedure and doesn’t take too long and sorry to say you have to be awake for it!!

Good luck

Westie2012
Westie2012 in reply to Babyr1996

Thank you for your advice it’s really helpful and appreciated x

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