Pacemaker implant

Hello everyone - just joined you.  I have had Paroxysmal AF for nearly 20 years.  I take medication have had five ablations.  In the last three years the episodes have become more frequent, but I could handle that if only the episodes were not so debilitating. 

In my particlular case the AF starts and from then on I dare not move, because my pulse will soar to frightening rates - 250 plus.  So I pretty much always go to hospital, where I feel safer and it usually reverts after a few hours. 

The unpredictability of these episodes is very restricting and so after resisting for many years I am having a 2 lead pacemaker inserted next Wednesday and I have to tell you I am pretty scared.  Any advice would be welcome.  


new pacemaker

by silberma - 2019-02-06 08:40:05

I am shocked that you waited so long to get a pacemaker. The procedure is very routine with a mortality rate of about 1% with an overnight stay in the hospital. Your quality of life will improve tremendously after the procedure.

Make sure you have a doctor that is doing this procedure on a regular basis and has a good success rate. Also a hospital with high rating for cardiac care.


by IAN MC - 2019-02-06 09:30:08

You are suggesting that 1 in every 100 people dies having a PM implant operation.  This is absolute nonsense and will unnecessarily worry anyone due for the procedure.  Any surgical / anaesthetic procedure carries some risk but dying during a PM implant is EXTREMELY rare .

I wish you well Theresa .   Your PM will not put an end to your atrial fibrillation but it will stop your heart-rate from falling too low. It is possible that a low heart-rate may have been causing some of your symptoms , if so you should see a definite improvement in the way you feel.

Best of luck

Ian ( also in the UK )



good luck!

by Tracey_E - 2019-02-06 10:16:39

As Ian said, mortality rate is not even remotely close to 1%. Rate of complications is about 1%, so that means 99% come home the next day without even the tiniest hint of a problem, and the other 1% is usually something minor. It sounds scary and intimidating, but the reality is it's very routine and most of us bounce back and get on with our lives quickly. What you are going through now sounds much more scary to me! 

Pacemaker implant

by Theresa52 - 2019-02-06 15:42:57

Thank you all for your comments. Is this the correct way to reply to you, hope so?  So good to have your support.      Forgot to clarify that I am going to have a 'pace and ablate' procedure.  I'm sure you all know that it means  a few weeks after the PM implant, my AV node will be permanently destroyed so that I am completely dependent on the PM.  This is probably my biggest worry.

AV node ablation

by AgentX86 - 2019-02-06 21:13:15

Hi Theresa,

I had the same a year ago, except they did the pacemaker implant and AV ablation at the same time (one team at each end of me).  I had flutter, caused by a MAZE procedure that was intended to fix Afib but I had nothing like what you've gone through. 

The AV ablation will "fix" your AF  but, as you note, you will be dependent on your pacemaker.  It's not as big of a deal as it sounds, though.  Don't sweat it. 

The one thing you may not have thought about, though, is that your atria will still go into AF but it would couple to the ventricles, so your heart rate won't spike.  Perhaps you've been told that you will no longer feel the AF, however you may, but it'll be nothing like what you've gone through.  I can still sense my flutter once in a while but it's a huge improvement (I can sleep!).  Because you'll still have AF, anticoaguation is still essential and perhaps even more so because you may not feel the AF so not know that you need it.  I would also get a medical alert braceet or tag (I have both) stating that you're pacemaker dependent and are taking an anticoagulant (name it).


by Violet West - 2019-02-06 22:03:03

5 ablations? holy cow, talk about diminishing returns.

I had the same; CRT pacemaker with AV nodal ablation, so I'm 100% dependent on it also.  I think the thought "my heart will never beat by itself again" is the scariest thing.  Two things:

1 - it will be a relief.  You will likely feel much, much better physically -- I did.

2 - give yourself time to work through the emotional stuff; it's normal and it takes a while to come to terms.

best of luck!

What? Me worry?

by AgentX86 - 2019-02-06 22:37:22

I never felt the "will my heart ever beat by itself" again emotion.  What got to me was having a monitoring company call me at 3:00AM telling me that I should be getting my self to the ER (I didn't - I had a 9:00AM appointment with my EP that day and would never have made it if I went to the ER).  What really got to me was when i felt my heart stop for several seconds. "What the hell do I do now?!".  Getting the PM wasn't a big deal at that point.  The AV ablation was just the cherry on top.

Emotional thoughts

by Theresa52 - 2019-02-07 16:44:32

Thanks everyone for your support and advice.  Part of me is having problems dealing with the emotional impact of having the 'Pace and ablate'.  Violet - coming to terms, as you said, is certainly how I feel about it.   I hate being dependent in any kind of situation.  But I know that my present situation is also unstable. 

You know you're wired when...

You take technology to heart.

Member Quotes

A pacemaker completely solved my problem. In fact, it was implanted just 7 weeks ago and I ran a race today, placed first in my age group.