New Pacemaker Question

Hi there! I'm scheduled to receive my first pacemaker this coming Friday. I had an ablation for AVNRT in December. The procedure didn't work and caused heart block (Wenckebach/Mobitz). I wasn't expecting the symptoms I have been experiencing for the last 7 months since the surgery (SVT, skipped beats, fatigue). I was told that I would feel "great" after my ablation. So the symptoms that followed have amped up my already high anxiety level. I was just wondering if anyone can tell me what I should expect to feel? Will I feel the pacemaker pacing in my chest? Will I feel erratic heart beats? Any advice on keeping anxiety under control? 


AVNRT + pacemaker

by AgentX86 - 2019-06-09 22:42:53

Do you know what sort (mode) of pacemaker they're going to use for you?  Are they going to do an AV ablation along with it.  I'm not sure how they're going to fix this so answering your questions is difficult.

I'm ventrically paced (AV ablation - essentially an intentional complet heart block) in both ventricles (VVI mode).  My atria aren't paced or sensed at all, so there is no synchrony between them.  I don't feel any pacing at all.

Others are paced and sensed in both the atria and ventricles (DDD mode) and some have reported that they feel it when the mode switches from atrial pacing to ventricular.  In any case, it has to be an improvement over what you're going through now.


by AgentX86 - 2019-06-09 22:44:35

Forgot to add...  The best way to keep anxiety at bay is to believe that the pacemaker will improve your life.  It's not a big deal.  Don't worry about it.

Hang in there

by Ksholleman - 2019-06-10 05:36:56

Hi! I’m about a month post pm and wish I had found this group before going through the procedure so you are already a step ahead. 

Know that what you are feeling is completely normal!! I only had a week to process the idea of a pm before it was placed and had a ton of anxiety. It was incredibly hard pre procedure to focus on the positives like “this set of jumper cables is actually going to keep me alive”.  It should have been such an easy thing to focus on but I simply couldn’t wrap my head around it.  Looking back, that would have made things a lot easier and alleviated a ton of stress.   Talking to others who had just recently undergone the procedure was also super helpful. They had recently worked through the same feelings that I was having and so it helped knowing I wasn’t alone. 

In response to your other questions, it seems to vary person to person. I only pace about 25% of the time and there are times when I can feel a slight fluttering in my chest or feels like my heart races a bit. It only lasts for a few seconds and it’s very subtle. I have been told that with time, it will become less noticeable. 

I can assure you that how I feel pre and post pm couldn’t be more different. I didn’t realize just how bad I actually felt until after the procedure.  I’m confident you will have the same experience!

The two things that I wasn’t prepared for were:

1 - muscle and general body aches post surgery.  Make sure you talk to your doctor about pain management and ask if it’s ok to use ice / heat on your neck and back if needed.   You will carry your body differently for the first few weeks and have limited movement in your left arm for up to six weeks so do what you can to keep your muscles active.

2 - make sure you have a good support system. I struggled with post procedure depression and bouts of extreme sadness.  I now understand  this normal with cardiac procedures, but wasnt something I was prepared for.     Make sure your friends and family should  anticipate you emotional roller coaster for  so they can support you. 

Hope this helps and good luck with your procedure :)  Hang in there! 




Eyes on the Prize

by CatDad - 2019-06-10 12:23:14

After you get your pacemaker you'll be able to weather whatever emotional storms or necessary technical tweaks arise by placing a finger on your wrist pulse and finding a nice, steady >60 heartbeat.

Not trying to be flippant about your situation; I had presyncope and diaphragm pacing after my first implant and needed revision surgery one week later. But throughout the scariest moments of it I was still able to feel that nice, steady pulse.

Admittedly, I was prepped for appreciating the basics by initially entering the ER with bradycardia and soon learning that my heart had been pausing for up to 7 seconds at a time. My heart was acting like.. "Meh, I dunno-- maybe I'll beat some more, maybe I won't".

After that I found that detecting a PM-provided steady pulse could get me through a lot of scariness. I'd also had CABG surgery in '07 so much of the inevitable emotional rudeness of major cardiac surgery had already been lived through.

Your new heartbeat will mean that you're winning and winning is the best analgesic. Best of luck to you!



Better each day

by Kimmiee2 - 2019-06-10 17:20:43

I am so happy you found this forum it really helped me pre op and especially post op.

the hard part is when someone says do you feel better? I don’t know as I didn’t feel that bad 

I have SSS bradycardia and possibly a little tachycardia but basically bpm was 40’s and even 30’s so didn’t want to faint 

I had no clue about anxiety that I would experience but comes and goes 

Positive Thoughts Always 😮



Thankful from the bottom of my currently dyslexic heart!

by AmandaRae73 - 2019-06-10 21:37:43

Thank you all for your comments! I cannot express how thankful I am to have joined this forum. I already feel more at ease. 

it will feel different

by dwelch - 2019-06-14 01:39:43

We each have our own issues that lead to a pacemaker, and what your specific issue is may affect how you "feel". 

You dont "feel" the pacemaker pacing any more than you feel your own bodies pacemaker pacing, the signals from the man made pacemaker are simllar to your bodies, just are such that they can override it and/or come at the right time.

What might feel different is that you have lived your life with your rythm up to this point, depending on what the pacer is going to do for you, it make make for a better, more normal, rythm which to you is different and strange, initially.   That will pass over time, but you will get used to the new, better, rythm.

In my case my bad rythm I could feel every beat, it was just part of life, could hear them in my ear if I got quite and listened.  Didnt need to put my finger on my wrist to take my pulse.  The pacer made that all go away so it was very empty inside for a while, I had to get used to not having that rythm there that I could feel.  Also I had a low resting rate and they moved my lower limit up to something more normal.  So that also was strange when trying to get to sleep with a heart running faster.  In the end it wasnt a difficult transition.  

We all feel anxious on our first one for many reasons, and it may feel different inside for a bit just understand that this is a better rythm than the one you had before, and trust me you will get used to it, it will become your new normal.

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