Newbie from UK
I'd like to introduce myself as a new member of this 'exclusive club'.
I live in the UK and am an otherwise fit and healthy 52 year old. Late 2022 I was diagnosed with aortic stenosis caused by a congenital bicuspid valve. I had no symptoms other than being slightly out of breath on physical exertion which I put down to gettting older!
I underwent open heart surgery in January 2023 to replace the aortic valve and to repair a section of the aorta. Sadly after surgery my heart did not recover the electrical pathway that runs from the SA node to the ventricles so 8 days after the first surgery I had a Meditronic Azure dual chamber pacemaker fitted. I had a bout of AF for a few days after the surgery (not uncommon) which the pacemaker dealt with and the hospital knew about due to the wireless link from pacemaker to bedside box to hospital, clever stuff! I am coming off the anticoagulants as the AF has cleared up.
Mentally I was fully prepared for the valve change but the need for a pacemaker totally blindsided me. I have to say that being fully reliant on this little device is scary and feels so unnatural so it is good to read so many positive and knowledgeable posts on this website. Your posts remind me that the pacemaker does not need to limit my life but that I do need to be vigilant to my condition.
My recovery is progressing well, and I am surprised to say that the discomfort from the pacemaker site felt worse than having had my sternum cut open and a 20cm wound! It felt like the pacemaker was a little too close to my shoulder but overtime the discomfort has reduced and I am hopeful that in a few more months I will hardly know it is there.
My heart rate is 10-20 BPM more than before surgery and quickly increases on exertion. It's slow to return to rest after exertion. I am assuming this is normal post OHS surgery and will improve with time. I am due to start cardiac rehab which may help with this.
The one thing that is getting me down the most is that I can feel my heartbeat so strongly through my body when either seated in an armchair or lying on my back in bed. It's hard to forget what I have been through with a constant reminder every second! This could be a side effect from OHS as the epicardium is not closed after surgery meaning less sound deadening around the heart. I am wondering though if it may be that the pacemaker pulse voltage is a little high causing a stronger contraction of the ventricles than is required. I have my first appointment at the device clinic in a week so will ask them about this as well as adjusting the limits (60 & 130 BPM now).
So that is about it from me for now.
Thanks to all the contributors to this website and best wishes to all.
You know you're wired when...
Your life has spark.
My pacemaker is the best thing that every happened to me, had I not got it I would not be here today.