Triathlon & Pacemakers

Hi All. I'm new to this forum and just wanted to find out if there are any triathlete's out there competing with a pacemaker. I am scheduled to have mine next week and I'm desperate to get back to my exercise and very hopeful that I can return to the level I was before I started experiencing heart issues (Feb this year).

As a background: I was firstly diagnosed with RVOT-VT, which was ablated in June, however during the lead up to the ablation I had some other weird episodes that I have now found out were heart block ... these have progressively worsened. At this stage I am have frequest VEB at rest (apparently also have RBBB which I understand can be normal for athletes) and the progressively worsening heart block on exertion/exercise (sometimes can only manage 5min before my heart rate plummets). I have a structurally sound heart (although do have athlete's heart - bradycardia - which until now had not caused me any issues). My resting heart rate is very low but I always thought that was due to fitness. I must admit that if I stay still too long I just get tired; whereas keeping busy keeps me going (using energey creates energy!).

Is it possible that I will be able to return to triathlon in the longer term without a loss of performance? Are there any specific pacemakers that are better suited for athletes (coping with ranges of heart rate and not inhibiting performance)?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated .. thanks!


Talk to Doctor

by MSPACER - 2011-09-04 02:09:45

I don't see why you would not be able to do triathlons after getting a pacemaker, but it is always good to check with your doctor. I returned to competitive cycling after my first pacemaker was implanted, although, I only ride for fitness now. Many people in this forum run, ride and swim without problems.

You may want to ask the doctor about getting the pacemaker implanted under the muscle if you are going to be super active with sports like swimming and running. It just may be more comfortable for you.

I have a Medtronic adapta, which seems to have a good rate response feature. It works by sensing body movement, if the feature is turned on.


by koshyabe - 2011-09-14 02:09:35

I had problems with swimming as the pacemaker senses vibration to increase heart rate for exercise. Swimming does not provide as much vibration as jogging. Similarly, running up steep slopes and stationary cycling (in a gym) could also give inadequate heart rates.

Triatlete Back in Action

by hjfarr - 2011-10-31 03:10:28

I just saw your post. I hope the proceedure went well and you are on your way to recovery. I am a triathlete and posted above in the 4 Killometer Race querry. Best of luck in your recovery. TRAIN SAFE, RACE HARD


by bab - 2011-12-03 12:12:32


I an now 60. Had a versa VEDR01 fitted in December 2006 after block between the two chambers but now complete block. At that stage after recuperation etc did several standard distance triathlons although I was only really a plodder. Couple of points I have picked up and confirm from other posts is that as swimming does not give any vibration the rate response doesnt seem to work very well. Same applies to going up hills on the bike - okay on the flat with vibration but on the hills where slower not the same vibration felt and rate response doesnt seem to kick in very well. That wld seem to be the main issue with you returning to the performance you had before the episodes and post pacemaker.

You know you're wired when...

You have a little piece of high-tech in your chest.

Member Quotes

Pacemakers are very reliable devices.