Post op. Raising arm.

I am recovering from having an ICD fitted a couple of days ago. I have been strict and disappointed with doctors orders however I recently woke from an afternoon nap and stretched out lifting my arm higher than it’s supposed to go. 

I’m a bit paranoid about this as I know lifting your arm increases the chances of dislodging the leads. Perhaps I’m overeacting but as I can get hold of the nurse I was wondering if anyone has any knowledge on how sensitive these leads are in the early days and what the likelyhood is that slightly over extending  can dislodge a lead ? 

Thanks in advance. 


6 Comments

Dislodge leads

by Theknotguy - 2019-07-20 10:42:42

Past discussions on this forum about lead problems indicated most leads become dislodged due to improper placement and natural heart
action.  Dislodgement from outside the body type situations would involve something like a bad car accident in which case you'd have a lot
more problems than just the leads.  

I got the warnings about lifting the arms and repeated arm movement, but that's only until the implant area is healed.  So if you accidentally forget and lift your arm or forget and lift over the 8-10 pounds, just say, "I shouldn't do that!" and go on.  

As for repetition arm movement, I did talk with a fellow pacemaker person.  He was doing extremely heavy weight lifting and damaged a lead.  But that's in a situation where he was lifting over 200 pounds for quite a few repetitions as quickly as he could.  Said he felt something unusual and went on.  At his next pacemaker check up the doc made him go to the hospital for a new lead implant.  But. once again, that's an extreme situation.  

Hope everything else is going well for you. 
 

Make’s sense.

by Piggers365 - 2019-07-20 11:12:22

Thanks for the information. That makes sense.

Can depend on the leads that your EP used

by crustyg - 2019-07-20 12:18:41

Leads can have active fixation - literally a little metal corkscrew end which they twist into the heart muscle, or just some little prongs that spring out sideways to hold the lead in place.

AFAIK, in general, active fixation leads tend to be more reliable for atrial use than the passive ones - but not every EP uses the active fixation.

Good technique in fitting the lead (using the correct length of lead) so that there's a good section of 'slack' to allow for movement of your upper body veins and natural movement of your heart is also very important.

But there's not a lot of point worrying about this, as I've recently learnt myself the hard way.  Despite all the dire warnings from the docs, it's not common to dislodge a lead in the first few weeks after implantation and after a while there's enough fibrous tissue grows around this foreign body that it ends up well anchored into the heart.

my experiences

by Uelrindru - 2019-07-21 17:36:55

I had trouble remembering not to lift my arms and would regularly forget and reach for top shelves, lift probably more than 10 pounds, I am a construction worker and although I was weak after my heart attack I was used to being self sufficient. I never had my lead move but I did get a gnarly bruise once on my underarm bigger than my hand. I wouldnt worry too much about an occasional oops and just be vigilant about what yous body is telling you and how it reacts.

The anxiety you're feeling is normal and will calm and maybe even pass, it does for most people.

Doing Yard Work

by GHect - 2019-07-26 16:17:16

Got the pacemaker about 10 days ago.  After a few days started feeling human again.  I need to do morning chores for 2-3 hours.  They generally are yard and garden duties in the summer.  Went out two days ago and did general garding, pulling weeds, etc.  My wife, the retired ICU nurse, hovered pretty close.  She was there helping me with every chore.  We talked about my keeping my left arm from going out straight or over my head.  I concentrated on keeping my arm lowered while doing my chores.  But, every once in awhile I caught myself reaching up or out to grab something.  She suggested I wear the sling while doing my chores, thus immobizing the arm completely.  I was concerned about my "productivity" with an arm trapped to my chest.  We came about with a compromize.  I would use a strap to hold my left bicep to my side.  I found an old belt to strap my bicep to my side.  My wife had to strap it on, too awkward for me.  Went out and did my chores for about 3 hours.  Put up some rabbit fense in the garden.  Have a woodchuck eating the squash.  Also, cleaned bird seed feeding area, hand trimmed brush around garden, and a couple smaller stuff.  The belt held my left tricep down to my side and I still got to use my left forearm and hand.  I could actually do most of my garden chores.  Felt good to go out and spend time in the garden being productive.  

number five

by dwelch - 2019-08-06 03:50:39

I am on number five.  I let the pain guide me.  I dont take any pain meds, each day as I try to wash my hair or do whatever, that arm will only go up so far and then the skin pulls and the pain is there.  I let that guide me, took days more so than weeks to be able to use that side to wash my hair.  

Each thing takes a different number of days weeks.  How long before you can comfortably sleep for more than an hour or so at a time.  How long before you can sleep on that side, how long before it doesnt hurt to use that arm to drive.  how long before it doesnt hurt to use that arm to wash your hair.  How long before eating or yawning or other wide mouth movements that might pull on the skin dont zap you with a quick pain.  How long before you forget it is there.

Its like a belly button or a big toe you know you have them but you really dont think about them at all until you stub one.  But then you only think about it for a few days or so then you forget again.  Relatively speaking the recovery period is small, the bulk of the time from surgery to surgery you forget about the thing unless you bump it.  Which should be on the above list, now long or how many times you bump it before you subconsiously start to protect it and not bump it on things as much.

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