Got my PM implanted yesterday

Hi everyone,

Ive only posted on here one other time; back when I was deciding on if I needed a PM or not. I’m a 35/m in pretty good shape. Regular runner, hiker, etc. A year ago I developed atrial flutter out of the blue, had an ablation, they discovered scarring in my heart, and a few weeks later I started having episodes of low and irregular heart rate (anywhere from 40-55).

The symptoms have come and gone over the last year. Sometimes going a month feeling completely fine, some weeks feeling like crap for 4 out of 7 days. This made it a hard decision (who wants to decide to have surgery when they are feeling totally normal!?)

Keeping a log of my symptoms (and talking with my wife) it was becoming clear things were progressively getting worse (more episodes, more intense episodes, lasting longer, etc) so I decided to get the PM.

Aside from feeling like I was shot in the shoulder, I’m feeling great right now. Really hoping I made the right decision and can get back to running on a normal basis (last summer I was running almost everyday, last month I was down to two short jogs a week, and recently I have just stopped all together because of feeling crummy).

Reading posts on this site and posting on the forum was very helpful for me. I just wanted to make a post to thank those who responded to my one previous post and anyone else who has posted. Thanks everyone!


Take it slow for a while

by crustyg - 2020-06-09 10:38:08

You can get back to exercising now - I was out on my road bike four days post PM last year, even without a sensible maxHR.  It's important to keep the skin wound clean and dry, so any exercise that you do that makes you really sweat probably isn't a great idea until the skin wound has healed well - depends a little on the skin dressing.  Try not to raise the elbow on the PM side above shoulder for some weeks - 2-4probably.  NO swimming for 6 weeks!

Running every day probably isn't a great idea even at 35yrs - you should be having a rest day or doing some other exercise on the non-running day.  Professional and keen club athletes usually/often have a physio to tell them to train smarter not harder, otherwise injuries start to slow you down.  Professional track runners often move to cross-country over the winter for this reason as indoor work tends to lead to injury.

Also, you *probably* have been warned that your arrhythmia is likely to recur (although a pacing strategy that's as atrial-based as possible is the best to minimise this), so you might want to consider investing in a good quality chest strap for HR monitoring, and *always* stop if you suddenly feel crummy/bad/awful/sick when exercising (as you may have dropped back into AFlut or worse, AFib).

Otherwise crack on with your life and exercise.

Best wishes.

Good news and thank you for letting us know

by Gemita - 2020-06-09 11:27:08

I do remember our chats and I am so pleased the angonising is over for you and for your family.  You now have your pacemaker and you can move on and think about other things.  Making any decision for me is difficult enough but making a decision on health matters is fraught with difficulty and procrastination but what a relief when a decision is finally made and the procedure is done.  Such a burden is lifted.

As you say, you kept logs of the days when you didnt feel so good to remind you that all was not well because the good days just serve to confuse us into a false sense of well being.  I know the feeling well.  You begin to question if this is all in your mind, if things are really as bad  as you think they are but as you go down your diary of events, you can see clearly what is happening and this helped me also to finally come to a decision.  Doctors generally need this sort of confirmation and need us to be sure it is what we want.

I really hope for the very best for you and that your quality of life improves from now on.  Take it slowly as Crustyg says and don't expect too much too soon.  Pace yourself and maybe do a little more each day is the way to move forward.  There will be a lot of learning on your journey and maybe some mistakes made but that is what life is all about.


by AgentX86 - 2020-06-09 12:46:34

If you feel like mild exercise, there is no reason you can't start with walking now.  I started the day after I was released but at a somewhat reduced distance.  I made sure I didn't sweat until after at least the wound check - ask. The incision must be kept clean and sweat will carry all sorts of bugs where you don't want them.  I was banned from the gym for a month so that I didn't sweat. After that month, I was pretty much good to go. Follow your doctors' orders but as long as you feel up to it, do it.  There may be other reasons that they want you to start slower so make sure you pay attention to their instructions.  Ask questions. 

Post PM exercise and settings

by ar_vin - 2020-06-09 13:40:44

You've already got great advice in the posts above - keep moving but go easy for the first few weeks as you recover. Walk before you run! But do walk.

Very important: please complete your profile details so you'll get better responses to your questions here.

Like you I've worked out very regularly for a long time - I'm much far longer than you ;). Like you I struggled to run or hike uphill before my PM implant. Even after getting the PM I had to go through a few rounds of settings changes before my PM was "dialed in" to pace me for my exercise needs. You'll need to be persistent and knowledgeable to convince your EP and PM tech to make the needed settings changes. The better informed you are the easier it is to convince them.

I suggest you invest in a good chest strap HR monitor (like the Polar H10) and use it on all your runs; you'll have objective data on your exercise heart rate. I find it invaluable when talking to my EP and PM tech.

Please feel free to post any further questions!




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