Complex Regional Pain Syndrome post-pacemaker insertion

April 25 I had my aortic valve replaced (2nd time, first time was 2004). Because of my age, I was advised not to have TAVR, as the replacement valve would not be a good candidate for replacement in another 12 to 15 years. I therefore underwent the whole sternum-cracking surgery.  Six days later, I had to have a pacemaker inserted due to heart block caused by the surgery.  I have been suffering with intense sensations of stinging, biting, burning across my chest from armpit to armpit.  Taking pain meds (OTC) brings a bit of temporary relief.  Topical analgesic helps for about an hour.  Every professional I have mentioned this to says they've "never heard of this before." Not my cardiologist, not the cardiac rehab folks, not the device clinic. So I googled. Found several articles on the NIH.gov website:  Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, basically nerve damage from the pacemaker surgery. Nice to know it has a name!! I have found some comments on this group that are encouraging.  Seems it may subside in a few weeks/months.  I cannot begin to describe what a comfort it has been to find that I am not alone.


2 Comments

Armpit pain

by Buzzys246 - 2019-08-06 00:48:26

I have the same pain and discomfort, the major pain hs subsided but burning and stinging still continue. Doc said it could go away but no explanation, my pm was installed 2 years ago

Post op pain

by Memaw27 - 2019-08-17 02:14:09

I joined this site in hopes of learning more, getting support on pain issues. I got my PPM 3 weeks ago. I feel as if the pocket is a little high and the PM is hitting/ resting on my collar bone causing pain. It pokes out a lot. My main problem, aside from still having intense incisional pain is severe pain across my left chest wall - about half-way that spreads to the sternal area and numbness/tingling up my neck to my chin. It is an intense burning, pins/needles feeling - like touching a severe sunburn, with a particular area mid chest that fells like being stabbed. My doctor's office just tells me they don't know what the problem could possibly be, have never heard of such a thing, etc etc. I am a nurse so I do know about anatomy. I know that the median subpraclavicular nerve innervates the area of my greatest pain. It's worse if I lie down, so have only been able to sleep sitting up. Has anyone else experienced such pain. I am hoping that maybe it is a result of some nerve bruising or stretching duing the surgery that will heal over time. I believe I read someone say on here it takes about 8 weeks for the PM to settle into the pocket, so I am hoping that if it is pressing on a nerve it will calm down.  What remedies are others using for pain relief? I want to avoid opiods if at all possible. 

I never in my wildest immagination thought PM surgery would be this painful. I am disheartened to see someone say they have had pain for 2 years! I have to return to work in 2 weeks!!

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Member Quotes

I've seen many posts about people being concerned about exercise after having a device so thought I would let you know that yesterday I raced my first marathon since having my pacemaker fitted in fall 2004.