My Mom just got a pm on Aug 8th

My mom is 85 years old and just got a PM on August 8, 2019.  She wore a monitor for 30 days and it caught several episodes of her heart pausing.  She had a CABG about 18 years ago.  She is in decent shape for her age, but ever since getting her PM her condition has gone downhill. 

Her first checkup was 1 week after the surgery and they said everything was healing well.  She felt weak but we both thought that was due to the surgery.

On Aug 26th I took her to the ER due to extreme low blood pressure and the feeling of passing out.  They gave her fluids, ran blood work, EKG and checked her PM and said it was worling fine.  They took her off both her blood pressure meds (prior to the PM she took BP meds to keep it low). and took her Metrapropol from 50mg to 100mg.  Unfortunately, this has not helped her at all.  While we were in the ER they said her heart rate was kind of all over the place. She is still weak and unable to maintain her daily functions. 

We have an appt on Thursday, Sept 5th with the PM dr.  I plan to call and speak with someone prior to the appt to give them this information.

I've read many posts on here trying to understand what is going on with my mom.  We are both very upset and scared.

I've read on the site about PM pacing and settings but we have had no discussions like that with the DR. 

Does anyone have any advice or information for us.

Thank you


Mom's new PM

by Magpie58 - 2019-09-02 17:21:36

Sorry to hear you and Mom are having these issues. It can be a very tough time for all involved, and can,for some, take time for things to settle, even for those of us in a "fit" state of health(up until mine was implanted, I was running marathons). I am 58 years old.

To give you an idea, mine was implanted 12 months ago. I had Atrial Fibrillation and Syncope. My resting heart rate was always in the 30's, but I started having multiple long pauses.

 I thought my troubles would resolve quickly, but it took six months or more of altering settings and medications to get it right. Some meds can make you extremely fatigued, (they took me off Metoprolol for that reason). I then had six months of no AF at all(actually forgot I even had a PM, pretty much). 

A few weeks back I had some Atrial Flutter, and had another med added. Feeling OK now, and can't wait to run again and would love to run another marathon(just one more).

I guess what I'm saying is that It can take time to get sorted, and we need to work with our teams until we are right. Ask lots of questions, and if you are not happy with the answers, ask more.

My dad has a PM, he is 89, it was fitted at 82. It took a long while fir that to get sorted, but he hasn't had issues for four or five years now.

Best wishes. 


Couple of things

by AgentX86 - 2019-09-02 20:59:33

First, it hasn't been a month yet.  At 85, she's not going to rebound like a kid.  That said, a week of inactivity can be hard for people who are already weak to recover from.  You should push her to exercise more, perhaps not telling her that's what she's doing.  Get her out to walk, go shopping, or to lunch, even.  She may not feel up to a lot of exercise but she can't just sit, either.  Inactivity may cause a death (sorry) spiral.

As others have noted, device settings are critical.  For the frail, this may be even more difficult. Rate response may be even more problematic because she may be more gentle walking that most of us.  The pacemaker may not register that she needs more oxygen when she moves.  Just a thought... try using a pulse-ox meter when she walks. See if her blood oxygen is staying high enough.

86 was Spot on!!!!!

by donr - 2019-09-03 00:49:19

Get her off her duff & walk, walk, walk!  I got that advice from a man who beat pneumonia 5 times past age 90.    Doesn't have to be strenuous, but should be frequent.  The worst thing she can do is NOTHING but sit & watch daytime TV.  Now all this assumes she is still in good health & capable, but not necessarily willing.  You have to be the one who motivates her till she gets the idea.

She & I have something in common - both over 82.   We both remember a certain man who was President of the US - Harry S. Truman.  Remember what a stubborn, irrascable, persistant cuss he was.  Ask her, she'll tell you he was called "Give 'em Hell Harry." Took his cane & went walking every day!   Well, I got this advice from HST's cousin, Louis W. Truman, a veteran of three wars & every bit cut from the same bolt of cloth as HST.  He gave me that advice when he was over 90 & it is true.  When I was about 77, my cardio told me it would take at least three weeks of the most vigorous activity I could tolerate for every day I spent in bed or sat in a chair following a belly surgery.    He was correct.  Probably take a bit longer for us tough old bird octogenarians.  You are going to have to convince Mom that SHE wants & needs to do it for it to be successful.

Wish her well for a fellow  TOB (Tough Old Bird).


Update on my mom...

by deanne - 2019-09-08 23:06:02

Thank you to those who took a moment to answer my concerns. 

At our appt last Thursday we found out my mom has been in constant Afib since end of August, which is when these severe symptons started.  The Dr. indicated this was the second part that he had planned to address.  I guess they couldn't address it sooner as she had been off her blood thinner for the PM sugery.  We are trying medicine for one week and when we return for our follow up appt if her heart isn't back into it's normal rhythm they will be doing a cardioversion.

We had no idea the symptoms of constant afib are so dibillitating.  Hopefully this will be the last hurdle to her feeling better.

Again, thank you for all the advice.

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