Pacemaker

Just found this site and have readseveral of the postings hoping to find answers to my questions - but not yet.

When I had my pacemaker implanted 4 years ago, I was told the battery life was about 15 years.  In the last 4 years that has dropped to 3 years remaining.  With so much used up in 4 years, my concern is how fast the remaining time will actually last and how I will know when it's winding down in time to do something about it rather quickly.  Anyone have any ideas?


4 Comments

What pacemaker?

by AgentX86 - 2019-04-13 23:53:42

Some have an audible low-battery alarm, others vibrate.  Some do nothing but all give their status during an interrogation (I presume that's how you found yours is running down too quickly). SInce yours is running down so fast, did they give you a reason?  It's generally caused by either a change to your heart (e.g. now pacing a higher percentage of the time, a mode change (either programmed or automatic), or a faulty lead.Did they say why yours is dischargig so fast?

What AgentX86 said

by LondonAndy - 2019-04-14 05:52:14

I agree with those comments.  I have not heard of a life expectancy of 15 years before, though perhaps other have.  Ten years has been the most I have seen, so perhaps it sounds like that was an optimistic estimate from the outset.  My Medtronic Ensura is 4.5 years old and my annual test last October estimated a 3 year battery life left, which would make my pacemaker's battery life expectancy similar to yours.  I am 100% paced, which would generally mean a shorter battery life than someone who is paced less.  Do you know how much you are paced?

It is important to remember that battery life left is an estimate.  Some people have posted messages here of the estimated life left INCREASING at their next annual check.  You will doubtless have more frequent checks as the estimated battery life gets low, so whilst I can understand the concern it is something 'they' know about and will manage properly.

estimates

by Tracey_E - 2019-04-14 17:38:12

The number they give you is a guess based on the settings at the time they do the interrogation. If they change the settings, it's going change that estimate, sometimes dramatically depending on what they changed. I would ask them what's going on, why it's going down so quickly.

My guess is going to be a lead is the culprit. Pacing more will have a small effect but not cut your battery life in half. I had a lead go bad. It still worked but they had to crank up the juice to get the signal through so it ran the battery down very quickly (3 years). Picture running the air conditioner with the window open. The house will cool but your power bill goes through the roof. As long as it's working, they'll just watch it until it's time to replace the box. 

If it's going down at a rate faster than expected, they will start doing checks more often when it says 6 months to a year left. Do you have a home monitor? If so, then no need for extra checks because your home monitor will let them know when it gets into elective replacement mode, which is a 3 month warning. They don't just suddenly stop! There is a 3 month warning, then it cuts back to a conservation mode which lasts another 3 months so there is a built in 6 month cushion. If yours is depleting quickly, 6 months won't be 6 months. In my case, it said 6 months to replacement mode, then 2 months later it was already in replacement mode so I had it changed out within a few weeks. It never got to the conservation mode so I could have waited longer. 

Replacements are super easy, if this is your first. If a lead is causing the problem, they'll want to replace it at the same time so your next battery lasts longer. 

Pacemaker

by Wired - 2019-04-15 01:22:28

Thanks to all who have responded here.  You've asked questions I should have asked the Dr.  Something else I didn't know.

Only the first consultation specified a 15-year battery life, since then it's always been 10 or 12.  Checkups are every 6 months and March was my last one.  No one seems to be excited about the battery decline but me...but it's mine and my first encounter with anything like this and I don't know much about it.  My pacemaker came 4 years ago after a TIA and diagnosis of afib.  I do not feel it or the afib so I am fortunate.  Last year was one of much familial stress and i do know that stress is very taxing on a pacemaker, at least it is on mine.

I do read everything I get my hands on - maybe that is information overload - but facts I can deal with and I appreciate your comments. 

Thank you. 

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