Panic Attack Like Symptoms

Good afternoon-

I became a proud owner of a pacemkaer in June of 2023.  No prior history other than a span over four days of " fainting episodes" which ended with a period of "flat lining". (20 seconds). Overall I am in fairly good health weigh 140 lbs, drink very little, did drink caffeine.  Lead an active life, but don't do a lot of cardio exercise.  My initail recovery went well.  I am now back to work and doing what I do.  I had my check up with the pacemeaker people and they indicated that my pacemeaker was working 60% of the time on the top and 1% on the botton.  My understanding is that my resting heart rate would be low.  High 40's when sleeping.  Would love to say that I am a superior athlete - but I'm not.  I was a little taken back by the 60% but realize that my bottom level is set at 60 so anything below that would send the response correct?  During the appt. he turned my pacemeake off for the moment and had me do some physical excerice and all seemed well.  We disuccsed the 60 low and then decided since it is so new that I could discuss it with my catrdiologist when I see him again in Dec.  My thought being maybe setting it in the 50's would be better (but I am certainly not a Dr.) 

It has been a lifestyle hickup, but overall I felt that I was doing well.  Then starting last week I began to have what I would describe as panic attack like symptoms (this is not a condition that I have ever had in my life).  I will get light headed, start to sweat and get a metal type of taste in my mouth.)  I can address the excercise and will look into meditation and perhaps yoga, but am just wondering if there is something that I may be missing medically.  I actually ended up in ER and the tests all came back fine.  I have a follow up with my general doctor this Wednesday.  I understand this is a new piece in my body and that it may be adusting.  But I just feel off!!  I am a soical worker and do not minimize menatl health, but I also struggle that this has just come out of the blue.

Thoughts?  I appreciate all perspectives - so give it to me as you see it.  Also if you need more I am more than willing to share.

 

So appreciate this group...

 

 

 


2 Comments

Is 60 the right setting for you?

by Gotrhythm - 2023-09-11 16:58:00

Before I address the panic attack-like symptoms, let me clear up a few issues about arrythmias.

You have an arrythmia, a condition in which your heart doesn't' always beat as often or when it's supposed to. You don't say what your diagnosis is, but that's what pacemakers do. They allow us to continue to live, and live well, with hearts that don't always beat on time or in a coordinated fashion.

And here's the thing about arrythmias. They are a separate problem from the issues we usually call heart disease. Heart "disease" is the problem you eat "heart healthy" and exercise to avoid. Nothing you did or failed to do caused your arrythmia. All the stuff we try to do to maintain our overall health are still important, but they aren't causing and can't cure arrythmias.

Many people with pacemakers have perfectly "healthy" hearts. I do.

Settings on your pacemaker. You are right. Your pacemaker watches your heart rate 24/7 seven days a week. It intervenes only when the heartrate drops below the set minimum. At this time, your heart is maintaining a rate at or above 60BPM about 40% of the time. In the ventricle, the signal from the upper chamber is getting through 99% plus, and the pacemaker is essentially doing nothing--just standing by in case it's needed.

Is a minimum of 60BPM right for you? There's only one answer. How do you feel? If you're feeling positive, with enough energy to get through your day without feeling drained--then it's fine. If life feels hard, you're tired all the time--or just if everything just feels like an effort, the minium might need to be raised.

There aren't any right or wrong settings, only the settings that work for you. The settings you should have are the settings that enable you to feel the best you can, and support you doing everything you want to do. Period. There is no benefit to living with less-than-optimal settings.

Now panic attack-like symptoms. I'm not a doctor and I wouldn't attempt a diagnosis even if I were, but what you described sound like what many of us feel when we have PVCs, pre-ventricular contractions. It's pretty scarey if you have several in a row and you don't know what's happening. However, it's not dangerous, and it's not a panic attack.  When you see your cardiologist you might want to ask about PVCs.

A pre-ventricular contraction is a funny little backwards heart beat in which the ventricle contracts before it's supposed to. It doesn't feel very good, but it's so common, it's considered normal. It's not life-threatening and not a sign that something is about to go terribly wrong. Many people, with no heart issues at all, have them.

I have PVCs. Nothing that I know of will stop or eliminate them. Things like missing sleep, getting overtired or dehydrated, or too hot, make them more likely. Getting plenty of sleep, staying hydrated, and avoiding exertion in hot weather make them less likely. Getting upset, angry, scared can set them of. The best thing to do when I feel them, is to remain mentally calm and let them pass.They always do.

Meditation is a beneficial skill for those with PVCs-or any arrythmia-since it helps develop the ability to maintain a calm frame of mind. I would recommend it, if you're interested.

Hope this helps. Glad you have found this site. Come back with quesions as often as you need to.

New Symptoms

by Penguin - 2023-09-12 06:09:41

Hi and Welcome, 

Sorry to hear about this, 

'' had my check up with the pacemeaker people and they indicated that my pacemeaker was working 60% of the time on the top and 1% on the botton.  My understanding is that my resting heart rate would be low.  High 40's when sleeping.''  ....  ''I was a little taken back by the 60% but realize that my bottom level is set at 60 so anything below that would send the response correct?''

Yes, that's right. If your h/rate dips to 40 when you're asleep and your PM is set to pace when your h'rate falls below 60, you will be receiving pacing at night. This may account for a good proportion of the 60% atrial pacing that surprised you. Some PMs have night time rate adjustments. You could ask about this if your doctor is not concerned about 40 bpm at night.

''I could discuss it with my catrdiologist when I see him again in Dec.  My thought being maybe setting it in the 50's would be better (but I am certainly not a Dr.)'' 

Your cardiologist will also know what happened when the technician turned your lower rate down when you were exercising and will already have some pacemaker data relating to your h/rates during the night and day.  He will also know whether or not the technician adjusted any settings and whether or not this explains your new symptoms. 

''Then starting last week I began to have what I would describe as panic attack like symptoms (this is not a condition that I have ever had in my life).  I will get light headed, start to sweat and get a metal type of taste in my mouth''.....''I actually ended up in ER and the tests all came back fine.  I have a follow up with my general doctor this Wednesday.  I understand this is a new piece in my body and that it may be adusting.  But I just feel off!! ''

I've had the dubious honour of a panic attack. I don't remember a metal taste, but do remember a very past h/rate alongside the other symptoms you mention.  However, there are probably lots of other reasons for these symptoms.  Were you having the symptoms whilst undergoing tests in ER? Did they do an ECG?  If so, usually you get tachycardia showing up (fast heart rhythm) and usually the panic is apparent.  

 It's strange that it happened after your appointment and you were feeling fine before.  I'd raise it with the clinic in the first instance. 

I hope you get it sorted out. Let us know. 

 

You know you're wired when...

You need to be re-booted each morning.

Member Quotes

The pacer systems are really very reliable. The main problem is the incompetent programming of them. If yours is working well for you, get on with life and enjoy it. You probably are more at risk of problems with a valve job than the pacer.