pacemaker benefit

Greetings all, just joined to ask this question on my wife'f behalf.  My wife is 79 and has a heart rate ranging from mid 30's to mid 40's.  She complains constantly of being tired and of  no energy. She has a cardiologist and he determines if a patient needs a pacemaker if there are symptoms such as lighted headedness or dizziness.  My wife really never gets these symptoms.  I always accompany her to her visits and have asked the cardiologist numerous times if a pacemaker will give her more enersgy and make her less tired. The  doctor is a very good cardiologist but I never get a satisfying or definitive answer so I thought I would address this to to all you kind folks out there who have first hand experience.  Thank you very much in advance for your help. It is much appreciated,

Sincerely,

desperate husband


12 Comments

Pacemaker benefit

by Aberdeen - 2020-08-02 17:47:48

A heart rate of mid 30s to 40s is very low. Before I had my pacemaker my lowest rate was 36. I didn’t feel dizzy or lightheaded but I noticed I wasn’t coping with gradients or steps . I became breathless although  I still managed my gym classes. I am 64 and had no health problems until a year ago.   I would go back to the doctor and ask again about a pacemaker.                       

Aberdeen follow-up

by marvo - 2020-08-02 18:18:37

you never mentioned if you felt better and had more energy after getting your pacemaker.  thanks you

Marvo

It is all about having the right symptoms to satisfy the cardiologist !

by Gemita - 2020-08-02 18:57:37

Hello Desperate Husband,

I know what you are both going through.

Unfortunately tiredness and lack of energy can have many causes and these symptoms on their own may not be enough to satisfy the cardiologist that this is due to your wife's low heart rate.  Now if you were to tell her cardiologist that she had fainted or had had a near faint, has experienced lightheadedness or dizziness as well as being fatigued that might get his attention and influence his decision.  Of course your wife doesn't want to wait until this happens before she is helped but you may have to make a stronger case to be heard if you want something to be done.

Both my husband and I have pacemakers but it was an uphill struggle initially to get our cardiologists to accept that we had a problem with low heart rates and intermittent fainting spells. It took several faints (complete loss of consciousness in hubby's case) before we got a pacemaker implanted and then it was only grudgingly done for my husband who had lots of serious health problems at the time and I believe they tried to avoid further intervention.  He is now 82.  It was frightening to see my husband collapse beside me and even more concerning for my husband to see me have multiple short faints while on a busy London Underground tube.  We both could have sustained serious injuries.

I would suggest that you go back to speak to the cardiologist.  Try to find a way to help your wife put forward a stronger case for a pacemaker.  Perhaps say something along the lines "I am so tired of not being able to carry out my daily activities safely because of extreme weakness and tiredness.  I am afraid of having an accident in the kitchen or when I am out in public places because of severe fatigue.  I feel I would benefit from a pacemaker which could pace me at a higher heart rate and allow me to recover some strength".  Try to question your wife to see what other symptoms she has like breathlessness, chest discomfort, poor concentration, cold limbs due to poor circulation for example during low heart rates.  The stronger the case for a pacemaker to support her heart rate, the better her chances of getting her cardiologist to recommend appropriate treatment.  

We are both so much better with our pacemaker set at a higher heart rate. It has made such a difference to our quality of life.  We both had extremely low heart rates falling during night to <30 bpm.  Even during day it was often hovering around 45 bpm and lower but even so Cardiologist wasn't too impressed until we started collapsing and monitoring picked this up.

Has your wife had heart monitoring and has she been able to correlate her severe fatigue symptoms with her low heart rates?  That is the evidence her cardiologist will be looking for.  They really need to be sure that a pacemaker will help her.  I believe it will but your cardiologist needs to be convinced.  Are you by chance in the UK.?  It wouldn't surprise me if you were

fixing what's wrong

by Tracey_E - 2020-08-02 19:01:42

If her rate is that low, I don't know why it's even up for discussion. Under 60 is bradycardia, under 50 will usually benefit. 

Yes, fatigue is absolutely a symptom of a low rate. It's also a symptom of a lot of things, so it sounds like the doctor is being careful what he says. But yes, most of us who have only a low rate and get a pacer feel much better after. 

Gemita folow-up

by marvo - 2020-08-02 20:56:49

Yes my wife has had a 24 hour holter test as well as a 7 day.  I believe she had 1 episode of no pulse for >3 seconds in the latter test. Cardiologist said this was significant.  It is not so much that the cardiologist does not want to recommend a pacemaker, it's more that we (wife and I) simply are not sure that this will get rid of the daily fatigue and low energy. This is why it is so good to hear from others that have a pacemaker and to see if they had more energy with less fatigue afterwards. thank you very much. would be great to hear from others on how they felt after receiving their pacemaker.

Marvo

3 second pause

by AgentX86 - 2020-08-02 23:29:19

A three-second pause isn't enough reason to get a PM.  Usually they want to see five-seconds or so, before a pacemaker is needed.  That said, if ishe's having three second pauses now, it will likely get worse.  The thing that would concern me is a heart rate in the 30s.  You didn't really specify when this occurs.  If during sleep it's much less worrying than if awake.

IMO, you shouldn't wait for symptoms worse symptoms to appear.  Quality of life, alone, should be enough to demand a solution.  It's almost unheard of it to get better on its own and almost certainly will get worse. A bigger arguement than QOL, is that one syncope event could be life-altering at her age.  A simple fall could be devastating.  Think about it if she fell on the stairs.

I don't mean to scare you, well, maybe I do.  this is a serious problem at any age but particularly so at her age.

heart rate pause

by marvo - 2020-08-03 02:36:58

The >3 second pause was during sleep and the low heart rate is normally when resting or sleeping.  This is pretty universal I think.  I guess to sum it up, what I need to know is that when one gets a pacemaker, in general, do they normally feel better with more energy and less fatigue.  Most peole I would think get a pacemaker because they are having symptoms.  Who knows if fatigue is always a symptom of low heart rate. Therein lies the problem.  Not knowing this and not having the normal symptoms of light-headedness or dizziness, make it hard to decide to opt for a pacemaker.  Thanks so much to all who have commented thus far. I appreciate all comments and invite more to share their experiences.

Marvo

Marvo

by Gemita - 2020-08-03 03:13:28

Hello again,

I seem to have got that spectacularly wrong.  I am glad your cardiologist is on your side, only non committal in answering your question "whether a pacemaker would help your wife to feel less tired and give her higher energy levels".

A slow heart rate and pausing caused both my husband and I to have many unwanted symptoms, including fatigue..  Nothing seemed to work for me as well as pushing up my heart rate. My quality of sleep is better, I have more "steady" energy, I no longer feel so weak, so cold, so tired, so prone to faints, so prone to "brain fog".  My husband too has benefitted, especially since they increased his heart rate recently from 60 to 70 bpm.  He has even threatened to get back on his bike or go for a jog to build up muscle strength which he has sadly lost. He tried a short jog last night.  Came back a bit puffed but in good spirits and willing to do more.

I do not know what other health problems your wife has Marvo and whether her fatigue and energy levels can be improved by a pacemaker alone, but her low heart rates and pausing, even if only occurring at rest, will definitely not be helping and may still warrant treatment to prevent these symptoms progressing.  I believe with higher heart rates she will not only feel better overall but that all her organs should benefit too from a higher, steadier pace.  As AgentX86 suggests the biggest worry would be if your wife were to experience a fall due to her symptoms.  Even a fall at night in the safety of your own home when her heart rates are low could lead to serious injury.  I was able to quickly reach out and support my husband as he dropped to the ground on a busy public road to prevent him hitting his head.  A really frightening experience.   

Benefits of a pacemaker

by Aberdeen - 2020-08-03 04:43:41

Hi Marvo- I did feel better after having the pacemaker. I could climb stairs and gradients without a problem. Good luck!

Thank you one and all

by marvo - 2020-08-07 18:33:32

I am in gratitude to those who responded and with such thoughtful replies. I believe there is a consensus here and my question was answered.  Glad I found this site so in the event my wife gets the pacemaker, I know where to turn for first hand info,

Sincerely,

Marvo

PM for brady

by Original Cyndy - 2020-08-13 15:18:59

I was having a 3-second pause--plus bradycardia plus tachycardia (a fib) last summer; they did 2 ablations, months apart, I spent lots of time in ER and heart hospital in between. On 5 heart meds. Main symptoms fatigue & faintness. In April they put me a on Holter for 2 weeks and then when they got the report, mmediately threw me in for a PM, due to 8-second pause and ventricular tachy. I feel SO MUCH BETTER! Wish I'd gone ahead and gotten it last summer, when my EP said it's either ablation or a pacer. (I was worried about the PM slowing me down at TSA during travel. Not an issue now, lol.) 

BTW, My mother was immediately implanted when they accidentally discovered she had a HR of 30 (yes she had a bad doc at the time). She too felt 100% better, right away. That's because oxygen is making its way to the brain!

Find a new doctor.

Thanks O. Cindy

by marvo - 2020-08-13 16:16:38

glad you and your mom are feeling better.  thank you for sharing.  it helps guide me.

Marvo

You know you're wired when...

You run like the bionic woman.

Member Quotes

To tell you the truth I never even give it a second thought. While growing up it never stopped me from doing anything and to this day my girlfriend or my kids need to remind me that I have one!