new lead placement

I have had my PM for 6 months and in 2 days I will have surgery to replace a ventricle lead that is not well situated ( It is touching my diaphram and not giving enough stimulation to the ventricle.) 3 questions:1- my surgeon is going to leave the old lead in because she is concerned that trying to pull it out could result in pulling out some heart tissue also. Any feedback on this? 2- I was reading one of the messages in which the PM was under breast tissue and I would like to know if this is worth asking for at this point(mine has shifted and now is under the edge of my bra) and 3-, I experienced a lot of left shoulder, neck and arm discomfort for months post op ( I think from having to immobilize my left arm for so long and I am 66 years old) and I am wondering if anyone has helpful hints to advoid this after this surgery. Many thanks for any help-- Bonnie


it depends

by CathrynB - 2008-05-20 10:05:28

Hi Bonnie,
I can't speak to your questions regarding the electrical lead as I've not faced that, however I'm one of the folks who initially had my PM in the "typical" location just below my left collarbone and it was awful for me, always painful, so 6 months later I had it repositioned behind my left breast, but still on top of the muscle. I'm extremely happy with it there and have no discomfort from it. I run, sleep on my stomach, lift heavy objects, and none of that gives me any problem now as it did previously.
If the shoulder, neck and arm pain you had was from "frozen shoulder" rather than some other cause, the important thing to prevent it is to keep your arm and shoulder moving throughout the full range of motion following your surgery EXCEPT not above shoulder height. So use the arm as normally as possible, but no heavy weights until your doctor lifts that restriction, and nothing above shoulder height. My arm only felt a bit stiff for a week after the 6-weeks post-op restriction was over and I began raising it over my shoulder again.
Best wishes for your surgery in two days, and please let us know how it goes. You'll be in my thoughts,

Hi Bonnie

by Gellia2 - 2008-05-20 11:05:37

I have had a lead replaced (ventrical) and the old one capped and left in place. It really shouldn't bother you at all. My old lead has been there since 1975 and would be very difficult to remove at this point. Capping and suturing in place is the way to go, unless the lead can come out easily.
Don't worry, you won't even know it's there.
As for pacer placement. I have had mine under the muscle since it was first placed in 1975. Replacements have been in the same area. It is very comfortable and I can even sleep on that side with little difficulty now. I'm only a few years younger than you and as we get older our skin thins out. Having a good placement can save you a world of problems later. The more "flesh" between the pacemaker and your skin, the better off you'll be. IMO
Hope this helps!
Best of luck to you.

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