Pacemaker tapping

So, wow, 5 weeks ago had a two chamber pacemaker installed due to slow heartbeat and heart beat stopping for 3 to 5 second intervals. Feel a whole lot better. So I am amazed at some of the posts here. You can actually tap on your pacemaker to speed it up, seriously? The other day my smart watch said my heart rate was at 134, and at the time not doing any type of physical labor. I have a Medtronics unit. Any comments with truthful answers appreciated! Lol.


To tap or not to tap, that is the question

by IAN MC - 2019-08-05 04:54:01

Hi and welcome to the PM club; you can now say goodbye to those cardiac pauses .

From time to time on here people raise the subject of tapping your pacemaker. First of all it is NOT recommended as a routine practice and is totally pointless if your Rate Response function is switched off.    I read somewhere that roughly 50 % of people have RR switched on and 50 % dont !

What is Rate Response ?   It is a program on the pacemaker which helps increase your heart rate when you exercise and is ONLY. switched on if you need it .  One way in which it works is :-

There is a very clever  tiny crystal inside the pacemaker  sensor ( a piezoelectric crystal ) which produces an  electric current when it vibrates .  This tiny current stimulates the heart to produce extra beats. Most exercise produces enough vibration/motion in the upper body to trigger off this crystal. ( You get these crysals in quartz watches where wrist movement helps to work the watch )

It struggles with some activities though such as cycling where very little vibration / motion occurs in the upper body, so some crazy cyclists resort to tapping their pacemakers to hopefully increase their heart-rates so that they can keep up with their Lycra-clad friends.  If you're cycling round a hairpin bend at 50 mph , tapping your pacemaker while you cycle is probably  a very bad idea though .

The vast majority of Pm recipients never need try tapping at all and it is certainly not a routine part of living with your pacemaker.

Best of luck, and remain tap-free




Fast heart rate

by Theknotguy - 2019-08-05 07:31:35

There can be a lot of things that can change your heart rate.  Also some of the Fitbits and other devices can be fooled by the pacemaker into recording a faster heart rate than what it actually happens to be.  So as long as you aren't gasping for air, or feeling faint, I wouldn't get too concerned.  

Hope your adjustment to your pacemaker goes well.  

Forget FitBits and other toys

by AgentX86 - 2019-08-05 11:50:03

Yes, I have a FitBit and it lies. A lot. You can easily tell the difference between any safe resting heart rate and 134bpm. If your heart rate is really 134, while you are at rest, take your meds to get it down or go to the ER immediately. The bottom line is that these things are toys and can't be taken seriously. If you need to know your heart rate, count it manually, against a stopwatch.

Yes, if you have rate response turned on,tapping your PM is rumored to simulate exercise, so will fake the PM into increasing the heart rate. This doesn't work on mine but... Many do this to get a "jump" on their exercise program so they don't have a pacemaker lag. Tuning the pacemaker properly is a better idea but not all EPs and PM techs see it that way.  ;-)

Pacemaker tapping

by lwmatch - 2019-08-05 14:24:29

Thanks for your fast responses and well wishes, that was just abit of information I had seen while surfing Internet.Interesting as I was going in to have it installed, I asked Dr. assistant if these talked to any phone apps, after he said yes, I had asked him if I could speed it up 'as needed', he said "Heck no, cause everybody would be doing it and the batteries would only last a short time". Lol, nevermind the part about wearing my heart out.

Fitbit and related device BPR

by packrat1 - 2019-08-24 12:51:19

I have to comment on the comment about Firbits and other heart rate monitors. My Fitbit Ionic and related Android app stated showing very erratic BPM (upper 50s to 120) during sleep hours between midnight and 0800 instead of the usual 55-75 BPM range. The rest of the day was erratic as usual.

A trip to the ER showed that the lower changer was sending phantom signals to the upper chamber and my PM was reacting. As a result my PM was reprogramed to ignore the phantom signals and my sleep BPM is back to normal. So, intelligent evaluation of heart monitor data can be extermely useful.

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