Leads, Pulse

Hi everybody, I'm a new member of just about an hour ago. Name is Roger.

So Nov. 21, I had my 3rd pacemaker installed. The battery was low enough for the insurance to cut in just prior to that. The reason I had the first unit put in 22 years ago is that from taking verapamil (my personal opinion) for high BP and an irregular heart beat, the med had lowered my pulse to about 40, from about 65. I was convinced that the pacemaker would correct the low pulse, although not correct high blood pressure or the irregular beat but that more medicine could now be taken without lowering the pulse more.

The original 2 wires now being 22 years old had been giving off "noise" at the testing for about 4-6 years. I was told it was because they were old, they last about 18 years. So the Dr. said he would be replacing the wires with the new unit. But he did not. He said it was too dangerous for me at my age (87), heart bleeding could occur with the wires seated for so long. etc.etc. So now I guess I have to live the rest of my life with old wornout wires.

But get this: Formerly, the lead serving the upper part of the heart was the one that caused the noise. Now it's the other one! I found out that it is possible for the surgeon to switch the position of the 2 wires where they connect to the pacemaker. Perhaps it doesn't matter, but, also get this...

My pulse had always been good, in the 60s with the first 2 units. Now it's between 38 and 50 something. Nobody's giving me a satisfactory answer. Have any of you heard of anythng like this? Would like to hear back.




Hi and Welcome

by Penguin - 2023-02-10 14:10:09

Welcome Roger and thank you for the informative post.  With 3 pacemakers under your belt (or collar should I say!) I'm sure you have a fair idea when something's just not right and questions need to be asked. From what you say some compromises may have been put in place rather than the new leads that you expected. You should be told what your surgeon has done surely? 

I'm not knowledgeable about lead replacement but when I first got a PM ( a long time ago!) I vaguely remember that leads were not usually removed when they went wrong and new ones were inserted alongside the old ones instead.  Perhaps this is no longer the case but is it worth asking whether or not it might be an option if they haven't been able to remove the old leads without significant trauma. 

I may be doing your surgeon a disservice but I initially wondered whether your age (87 yrs young) might have influenced his decision, but then I don't know what he found and what options were open / closed to him. I also don't know what your general state of health is or heart health for that matter and I imagine that he considered all of these things.

I think you're going to have to have it out with him and tell him how unhappy you are. People are living longer lives these days and you deserve to be as active as you can be for as long as possible. See if you can help them see your point of view. You've got to live with this afterall and if there's a risk involved it's yours to assess carefully with the input of your surgeon.


Good luck with this. I'd be interested to hear how you get on. 


by new to pace.... - 2023-02-10 15:35:41

it would be helpful if you filled in your profile.  It helps to know where you live as our answers are  sometimes different depending where you live.

new to pace


by AgentX86 - 2023-02-10 22:04:49

I can understand the reluctance to remove your leads.  It's not a minor thing and until quite recently was a really big deal for even the young. The're well embedded into the veins and have to be cut out with lasers.

Noise is a problem but it can usuallly be worked around by increasing the pacing voltage.  This reduces the battery lifetime but in the grand scheme of things, it's not usually that big of a deal.

Reversing the leads where they enter the pacemaker wouldn't help because you have a new pacemaker. It would be highly unlikely for both to have the same wierd problem.

The drop in heart rate could be an artifact of PVCs but that's a lot! I think you have to get some answers from your doctors.

You know you're wired when...

Titanium is your favorite metal.

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A pacemaker suddenly quitting is no more likely to happen than you are to be struck by lightening.