How did you know you needed a pacemaker

Hi everyone I'm new here just got pacemaker on the 21th offer 2020, I went to er because of serious diarrhea was admitted bc of low potassium during the night nurse comes rushing into my room asking me if I feel ok I tell them yes they say my heartrate dropped into the 30s,so next morning a cardio dr comes in saying they are going to transfer me to another hospital bc I need a heart cath and a pacemaker so I allow them to transfer me so as soon as I get to the bigger hospital drs say I need a pacemaker without in other test besides an ekg and ecko that's after dr done decided I needed pm and I asked several times if I really needed it and he said if I don't want to die in my sleep I've never had any heart problems just suffer from copd and low potassium my question is what test did yall have done before dr decided that you needed a pacemaker sorry for long post but I feel like it was an insurance thing and no one else checked my incision or bandage before being discharged I've been on my on trying to figure it all out myself I go on the 9th for wound check and i have zipties thank you all


A stress test did it for me

by BradyJohn - 2020-03-06 00:38:35

Hey Tammy,  glad you have a pm, if your hr was that low I really doubt it was an insurance thing.  I'm 56, I've had a really low resting hr for years, lately it was getting down into the 30's like yours.  I had a few tests, the one that decided it though was a treadmill stress test.  My heart wasn't beating fast enough even while exerting myself.  And, it turned out that there were a few other issues too.  All of that has been taken care of with the pm.  I feel a lot better than my old 'normal',  I hope you get good aftercare and enjoy good health going forward,



Thank you

by Tammy3026 - 2020-03-06 00:42:58

Thank you,I'm glad your feeling better I was just concerned that maybe a few more test should have been done I didn't have a stress test or anything like that bit I guess better safe than sorry, thank you for responding 

A Reveal Linq ILR did it for me

by Gemita - 2020-03-06 05:42:34

Hello Tammy,

A Reveal Linq implant confirmed the problems for me.

It seems to me that for peace of mind you may need to go back to ask your doctors who implanted your pacemaker to confirm the results of your EKG and echocardiogram which led to an immediate recommendation for your pacemaker.  I feel sure something was detected for them to recommend a pacemaker.  

I note that you suffer from low potassium and COPD.  Both of these conditions can lead to heart rhythm problems.  My husband suffers from both these conditions too and also has low magnesium.  He has had major bowel surgery and from time to time gets complications which can cause electrolyte disturbances if electrolytes (potassium, magnesium and sodium) are not quickly replaced.  He usually needs immediate hospitalisation and IV fluids to prevent heart rhythm irregularities.   Hubby now has a pacemaker too for bradycardia.

I also got my pacemaker for low heart rates (bradycardia, pausing and syncope).  My sudden changes in heart rate (upwards and downwards) was being caused by many different arrhythmias.  Unlike you I had to work hard to justify getting a pacemaker which has made such a beneficial impact on my life.  

When I first started getting breathless, weak, having chest pain even at rest, getting syncope episodes when I felt my heart rate suddenly race then crash, I knew something was wrong but every time I was tested, my heart seemed completely normal and in rhythm.  I fought hard for long term monitoring which clearly showed the intermittent problems I was having.  The sudden heart rate increases, even recording briefly in excess of 300 bpm and crashing quickly to well below 30 bpm before recovering quickly were all too plain to see.  Since my pacemaker implant my heart rhythms have benefitted from being paced at a steady pacing rate of 70 bpm.  I am thrilled with the result.  

When you next see your doctors you could ask specifically whether your potassium deficiency on your hospital admission was the cause of your heart problems at the time, or whether they saw something more serious on your EKG/Echocardiogram to indicate some other problem requiring an urgent pacemaker??  At least that way you might get a proper diagnosis and understand why you needed a pacemaker.  I don't know what else to suggest to give you peace of mind.  I wish you well 

Why? How?

by AgentX86 - 2020-03-06 08:35:36

I'm sure that when you were in the first hospital they had you connected to a heart monitor, where they saw your low heart rate. When you were sleeping, my bet is that your heart stopped for several seconds known as a "pause", or worse,  an "asystole" (a complete electrical shutdown of the heart). This is a sure sign that you needed a pacemaker. If that pause was more than three or four seconds, you need it *now*. My educated guess is that this is why they were so insistent that it be done right away. The cardiac cath was just a precaution to make sure that the reason wasn't physical (blocked arteries), which may have been a more urgent problem. A pause or asystole depends on a random electrical signal to restart the heart. The longer one goes on, the higher the chance that it'll never happen and you have SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest) - immediate death. You got lucky.

I had a similar problem. I went to the ER after a  near syncope (nearly passed out) episode and because of my history of Afib  and Aflutter, after bypass surgery was admitted. While I was there they did a nuclear stress test (used radioactive dye to image the heart) and an MRI. There tests found nothing so I was sent home with a cardiac event monitor for a month. In the third day at home, I got a call from the monitoring company (at 3:00AM) to get to the ER as soon as possible. I had an appointment with my electrophysiologist at 9:00 that morning anyway so the ER would have been a waste of time. I had a pacemaker implanted three days later (after the weekend). I'd had an eight second asystole. Turns out that I'd had a five second asystole in the hospital that the nurses chalked up to equipment failure. I got lucky. My brother,  who was in great shape, died of SCA. He never knew that he had heart problems.


by WazzA - 2020-03-06 09:52:34

Hi Tammy,

After XRays, Echocardiogram & ECG's in A&E confirmed AVRNT(svt) I was given an ablation which proved very successful .However my resting heart rate would drop as low as 29bpm at night, after being fitted with a 72 hour holter, it picked up a low heart rate during the day of 39 bpm. That was the clincher 2 weeks later my PM was installed. that was 5 months ago now & haven't looked back. Best wishes on your journey!

PM Implant.

by Graham M - 2020-03-06 15:50:25

Mine was spotted by the paramedic after I had an episode of syncope. I was taken to ER and transferred to the cardiac unit. The cardiologist told me I needed a pacemaker and it was fitted the same day. The definitive diagnosis was made on the ECG and echo.

This was just over 6months ago, and I feel ten times better.

I also have COPD, and having the PM has given me the incentive to quit smoking (I haven't smoked since the PM was fitted), and this is an added bonus.

Welcome to the club and best wishes,


Pacemaker needed

by Teri - 2020-03-06 19:09:16

I discovered my heart rate was low when my Apple Watch alerted me. It was down in the 40s, but I felt fine. I had an echo to rule out other things, a cardiac MRI to rule out sarcoidosis, and an EKG confirmed a complete heart block. There's no known cause. I ended up getting a cardiac catch and it showed no coronary artery disease. At 56, I was in great health and never saw this coming! 


by dwelch - 2020-03-07 11:06:45

A few seconds of an EKG is all you needed to see I had heart block and needed a pacemaker.  Nothing more was really required.  They did a few other things of course, and waited years before the first pacer, but it was trivial to see on an EKG in a few heart beats.

Out of breath running

by Dh13 - 2020-03-21 15:15:20

I noticed I was sometimes getting short of breath when running and would sometimes need to stop and walk for a bit.   Had a physical and the ekg showed right bundle block.  Then to the cardiologist.  Echo was borderline ok.   Did stress test and my heart rate dropped during exercise.   Did catherization next and no blockages.   I have no other health issues.  I had time to get use to the idea but it is still a little depressing.    I wasn't feeling bad but could not exercise without getting winded and was tired most of the time.  I wish I didn't need a pm but it is better than the alternative of accelerated heart damage.

loop recorder

by lauren618 - 2020-04-06 10:05:17

i am 19 and i was diagnosed with long qt syndrome when i was 16. so i knew about my condition before i knew i needed a pacemaker. a couple months after i was diagnosed i had a loop recorder (ILR) implanted and about a year after it was implanted my doctor called me and told me we needed to meet the next day, i knew then i needed one. my heart had stopped beating in my sleep but thankfully picked back up. my ILR caught it all. before that i had random low heart rate moments, usually during sleeping. sometimes i would drop into the 30's as well. definitely not an insurance thing if you ask me, i'm glad you were in the right place!! wish you the best :-) 

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