Pacemaker Differences

Has anyone been switched from one make or model pacemaker to another and found it made a significant difference? I had my pacemaker implanted four years ago, when I was 68. I have never felt really well since, even though I felt generally quite well before the surgery. I had a few episodes of syncope but was overall quite energetic. Since the implant I´m tired a lot. I´ve seen several cardiologists. They´ve all insisted the pacemaker is working perfectly. Well, perhaps it is -- but I´m NOT. I´ve wondered if a different pacemaker would have produced better results. Are there pacemaker ratings anywhere? Have they been measured against one another? Is it possible that some are in fact superior to the rest?


5 Comments

Quality?

by PV Gringo - 2019-09-02 16:32:54

The cardiologists who did my implant appear to use only one brand of pacemaker. They both have readers in their offices for St. Jude´s implants but not for any others. I don´t know if other teams operate the same way, but that´s my impression: the manufacturer is decided ahead of time; the only question is which model.

Settings Are What Matters

by Swangirl - 2019-09-02 17:48:00

I have a St. Jude and my settings are near perfect now but that wasn't always the case.  These devices are highly technical with a miriad of settings and combinations of settings.  It takes a skillful rep to get it right.  When I was still breathless and tired and complaining to my cardiologist repeatedly he scheduled me for the treadmill.  Then with him watching my heart and the rep on his laptop watching the pacemaker they performed the miracle.  For a half hour they tweaked and adjusted and communicated with each other while I walked uphill.  I can't tell you what a difference it made for my life.  The bottom line is we have to be the "squeaky wheel".  What good is this very expensive very complex device if it isn't functioning for our needs.  Make some waves!  Get some action!

Settings Are What Matters

by PV Gringo - 2019-09-02 18:35:08

Thank you for your encouraging story. I went back to my original cardiologists several times, and they made adjustments using their own equipment. The last adjustment made things worse. I went to three other cardiologists, each of whom brought in a St. Jude´s rep to assist. They too made ajustments. I thought the last one helped because I seemed to have more energy immediately afterwards. But that surge of energy didn´t last long. None put me on a treadmill or otherwise had me do anything strenuous.

Treadmill

by PV Gringo - 2019-09-03 11:56:50

Would you have an email contact for Dr. Yadlapalli? I won´t be able to visit him because I live in Mexico, but perhaps he would be able to refer me to a cardiologist here who has combined the treadmill and pacemaker tests. I presume almost any cardiologist could arrange this, but I´d rather go with a doctor who already has experience combining the two. Thank you.

multiple brands

by dwelch - 2019-09-07 00:34:22

I have had three medtronics, a st jude and a boston scientific.  No problem with the medtronic to st jude.  Did have a problem with the boston scientific.   Their answer was, my A lead was too perfectly placed.  From what they described, and being an electrical engineer, sounded like feedback.  One pulse from the device would feedback and be sensed as the body sending a beat causing the pacer to try to do two hits too close to each other.  What it felt like to me was a dead time with a really hard first beat after no beats for a while.  Im sure Tracey_E can tell you the three letter acronym for it.   Because I had had pacers for almost 30 years at the time and with this doc for over 10, and have never complained.  She said she spent the weekend and literally inspected the whole holter recording to find the problem.  They called me in on monday, can you be here this afternoon.  The rep from boston scientific was there, adjusted the sensitivity on the lead.  Back to normal, am a few years into this one.

As pointed out in shorter answers above, its all about the settings, be it a new device from the same brand or a new device from a different brand your EP or a rep or someone will setup your device before the surgery (possibly days before), based on the settings of your current device.  New devices from the same brand are 10 years give or take newer, not unlike buying a new car from the same company 10 years after your last new car, its a different car.  You can have settings issues with the same brand or different brands.  This is in part why we have the few week after visit and the 6 month after visit, and if that doesnt dial in the new device then more visits and maybe a holter.  My first device in the 1980s didnt have a fraction of the tech we have today it took many visits to get it dialed in.  The four devices after that other than this hiccup on this one, no issues.  Three brands.  I also have three brands of leads too, three leads three brands.  (although the brands keep buying each other I think the major ones are now only two companies)

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