pacemaker thumps every 3 hours

Hi my family is trying to figure out why our 9 year old daughter's pacemaker thumps three times every three hours around the clock. She's had an EKG at the time when it happened but no medical staff were present they say the jump on the EKG is from her moving but she never moved an inch we watch her tummy as it jumped three times. She's now doing a 24 hour holter. I feel like we're not being listened to because she doesn't actually ever loose a pulse and the doctors have never heard of a pm thumping on a regular basis. She's in complete heart block and we're worried that the pm may be defective. Has anyone heard of similiar problem?


PM & Thumps

by SMITTY - 2007-05-30 11:05:30

No, I never heard of a pacemaker doing what your daughter’s PM is doing, but that doesn't mean that I doubt your word. Based on my several years experience with a PM, and what I have been reading here for a few years, I would never doubt what anyone says their PM is doing. Unfortunately not all doctors are so ready to believe the patient. The result is many times the patient has much difficulty getting their problem corrected.

As for the possibility of the PM being defected, while it is unlikely, it certainly is not impossible. I cannot imagine what could be going on in the PM to cause it to produce 3 thumps every three hours day after day. Regardless of that, I do know that if it were my 9 year old daughter who has complete heart block, and this apparent problem with their PM, I would be very worried.

You may have read material on complete block, but in case you haven't I have included some information below which may reduce your fear about the PM quitting, if it is defective and what would happen to your daughter. While complete heart block is very serious this article indicates it is not instant death in the event the PM does stop. Of course I do not know all the particulars regarding your daughter's illness, so I want to point out that I do not know if the information below is relevant. I will leave that to you to decide.

“HEART BLOCK: The heart has four chambers. The top two are called the atria. The bottom two are called the ventricles. The heart's "natural" pacemaker is called the sinoatrial (SA) node or sinus node. It produces electrical impulses that make your heart beat. For your heart to beat properly, the signal must travel from the SA node down a specific path to reach the ventricles. As the signal goes from the atria to the ventricles, it passes through specialized conducting tissue called the atrioventricular node. As long as the electrical impulse is transmitted normally, the heart pumps and beats at a regular pace. Sometimes the signal from the heart's upper to lower chambers is impaired or doesn't transmit. This is "heart block." This does not mean that the blood flow or blood vessels are blocked.”

“Heart block is classified according to the level of impairment — first-degree heart block, second-degree heart block or third-degree (complete) heart block. What is third-degree or complete heart block? Heart block is classified according to the level of impairment — first-degree heart block, second-degree heart block or third-degree (complete) heart block.”

“Complete heart block means that the heart's electrical signal doesn't pass from the upper to the lower chambers. When this occurs, an independent pacemaker in the lower chambers takes over. This secondary, or backup, impulse allows the ventricles to contract and pump blood, but at a slower rate than that which would occur if there was no heart block. This slower heart beat will keep the patient alive so that medical treatment can be obtained.”

I wish your daughter the very best.


maybe something

by zmanj70 - 2007-06-20 03:06:33

well i have had the same thing going on for a couple months now at first it was just every other day or so,until the past couple of weeks that it thump's atleast 4 times an hour, i had my check for it, last week when the dr. noticed it was getting worse and scheduled me for an appointment this week, i have a pm and icd, and they told me the thumps are from the pm,kicking in to control the heart beat, mine was getting up to 175. this past friday my icd gave me a huge shock.
when i went in for my dr appointment on tuesday they said the icd went off because the pm tried to slow the beat but couldnt, so i am going in next week for surgery to fix the problem, they are doing the nips test and an ablation. not sure if anything helps or if my situation is the same but good luck, and i wish your daughter well

Possibly A Simple Adjustment

by flawrence80 - 2007-06-29 06:06:37

I think I felt the same thumps/fluttering in my side/upper abdomen after my pacemaker implantation that you are referring. It took them a while to figure out what I was describing but they simply had to turn down some settings on the PM. It mainly happened when I was laying or sitting down. Please dont get discouraged, sometimes the doctors dont listen as closely as they should but if the condition is what i suffered from there is a simple solution, ask about the settings.

My Mother is Having the Same Problem

by Darlene - 2007-08-28 03:08:43

I just became a member and read your article. My mother had her pacemaker put in Aug. '07. She has been having three thumps or pulses, every three hours, around the clock, just as you described your daughter's pacemaker. Her cardiologist is puzzled, saying he has never heard of this before. He wants to schedule her back in surgery and take out the pacemaker and the lead and put in a new one. She is 79 years old and doesn't want to have another surgery, since she has just had this one for a few weeks. Her pacemaker is an Adapta made by Medronic.

Have you found out what is causing your daughter's pacemaker to do this? Any information you can supply us with will be most appreciated. As we are desperate for answers. I hope you daughter is doing better now.


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