Surprised, Amazed, and Grateful ( I think) Pacer Newbie

Guess I'm another newbie who never in this world expected to join all you great folks in this exclusive club. I discovered this club in 2012 when my daughter, at age 27, received her pacemaker after a sinus node ablation to alleviate incessant tachycardia. I just lurked there, and found the information, the cameraderie, and encouragement offered by the members comforting to a bewildered and worried mother. And just to say, though my daughter has some health issues, she's doing well and that pacer saved her life.

So fast forward 7 years, I was diagnosed with sick sinus syndrome ( tachy-brady) and after some foot dragging on my part,  am now the proud "host" of a St. Jude Assurity MRI dual chamber pacemaker, implanted three days ago. 

So it's not too far out from the post-op for me, and I am surprised how well I am feeling. Right after the surgery ( I guess after the local anesthesia wore off), I felt like I had a bad giant toothache extending from just below the site to my jaw, but that subsided with the help of some extra strength tylenol and I've been using that to help with the pain since then. And some tylenol PM helps me sleep through the night, so I'm very grateful for that.

And I guess ( despite my doubts), I probably needed that pacemaker, during a visit to my doctor's device check clinic, they told me my atrial pacing rate was 83%. And I do feel better, for sure, and expect to feel even better once the post-op aches and pains subside.  

So I'm just hoping I don't do something inadvertently with that left arm to yank a lead out, trying to be careful with that for the next month. 



welcome back

by Tracey_E - 2019-06-16 08:22:31

So glad to hear your daughter is doing well! 

Arm restrictions after the first few days are just precaution. Leads are not put in tight, there is plenty of slack between where they leave the vein and connect to the box. Don't lift anything heavy and try not to raise it over your head (tho we all accidentally do that from time to time!) but otherwise try to use the arm normally so your shoulder doesn't freeze. 

Thanks for the welcome and info

by Marybird - 2019-06-17 12:40:00

I guess I tend to be paranoid about things like that, thinking any false move on the part of my left arm will yank a lead unceremoniously right out of my heart. It's nice to know there is some slack built into those leads, and it probably doesn't happen as easily as some of us with overactive imaginationd might think. Still, I'll be cautious and otherwise use the arm normally.

Reading through all posts, lots of great information there!

Thanks, Mary

loose leads`

by Tracey_E - 2019-06-17 19:47:53

If a lead comes loose, it's more likely that it was in a bad spot to begin with or that the heart muscle didn't like the way it was attached. There is often so much slack that they coil the extra and tuck it behind the box so no amount of movement from us is going to get it it all the way at the other end where it attaches in the heart. There was even a study of patients with no restrictions vs the traditional 6 weeks of arm limitations, and both groups had the same incident of dislodged leads. I've seen my own surgeon change his instructions from 6 weeks to 2 weeks. When I got my first one (1994) I wasn't given any restrictions. First time I heard about arm restrictions was here, and I was on my 3rd device by then. 

Loose Leads

by Marybird - 2019-06-18 19:25:03

That's such good information to know, thanks! 

My husband took pictures of the first chest x-ray they took in the hospital after my pacemaker was put in. So I checked those out out and sure enough, I can see those leads coiled around, I'd guess in behind the generator in the ( newly created, ouch!) pacer pocket. Looks as though there are two loops maybe? 

Still, I'll be careful, but I won't worry so much. For some reason, my sister, who had a pacemaker put in after she passed out one night ( she has afib and it was probably the meds, at least to some extent) and was taken to the hospital with a heart rate of 38), had to have a lead reimplanted several weeks afterwards. She tells me she went with the restrictions for maybe 10 days, then did what she wanted to, and I bet she was rough housing with her two year old twin grandsons and that did it ( I told her that anyway). 

I'm feeling much better, nice to feel the heart rate plugging along at an even 60 BPM, and not too much pain in the area, just some insane itching at times, but that's to be expected. 

I dont wait

by dwelch - 2019-07-04 02:50:05

I dont wait I am on pacer number five, by day two or three I am trying to wash my hair with that arm/hand.  I let the pain decide now much I can use it, go right up to that edge and pull back a little, that edge gets better every day.  Perhaps just lucky but the reality is if the leads were not in there well then we would all be having two and three surgeries to get them secured for every new device and that just isnt happening, for everyone that had an issue there are tons that didnt of which only a small percentage comment on it.

Device number one has the most changes, your heart works and feels differently now, maybe your lower limit means you are trying to sleep against a heart rate that is way faster than you have dealt with at night.  feel funny inside because your heart isnt working as hard as it had to.  no matter how many of these posts that you read, every little body twitch and pain is going to lead you to think.  did my pacemaker do that.  every device in your house, grr I forgot to ask if I can use my electric toothbrush, can I use the microwave, what if I get a static electricity shock walking on the carpet in my socks and touch something.  hundreds of these little things you have to work through on device number one.  along with the recovery from surgery.  by device two its just the recovery from surgery, which might not go as well because you think you have it figured out and push it too hard rather than take it easy.

Sorry to hear that both of you need devices, but since you do it is good that you got one.  I simply wouldnt be here without mine, no doubts there.  Welcome to the club, there is a wealth of information here. 

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Member Quotes

I am just thankful that I am alive and that even though I have this pacemaker it is not the end of the world.