Post implant

Hi all. Had to have a pacers installed on Friday after a cardio appointment on Monday. Not a lot of time to let reality set in. My biggest fear in life has always been hospitals. I was a awake and aware of my entire procedure. I was told that there would be an amnesia effect and I wouldn't remember it but the exact opposite happened.

Has this happened to anyone else?

To be honest it kind of messed with me a little and then the programming had massive issues as well. I did get released the next day but no one could tell me why my heart was racing to 150 and the tech the next day said he'd heard about it but that it seemed to be working now. 

Are there programming issues that occur from time to time?

Really worried about something that was programmed by an iPad keeping me going.




by AgentX86 - 2020-08-02 22:32:50

Sure, that's common.  Many (most?) EPs will use the least anesthetic possible.  It's easier for the surgeon, safer for patient, and (much) less recovery time.  I had only a local, so was completely lucid the whole time.  I had an ablation at the same time, so had a catheter from my groin into the heart.  There was some pain as they made the PM pocket but otherwise uneventful.

Programming problems can arise but they normally start out with very conservative settings and then optimize over time.  It sounds like there was something going on with your heart that they didn't expect.  The "laptop" is just a tool.  The "brains" is in the pacemaker.  It's the pacemaker keeping you going.

Just worried

by Jgwin - 2020-08-02 23:11:43

They had a temporary PM ran from my groin that they said was a backup for the procedure. I just wish my eyes would of been covered. I could see the huge Monitors in the room with everything. Just not looking forward to having to go through it all again in 5 or so years and struggling with it since I'm only 45 unless tech advances I'm hopefully looking at 6-8  of these. 


by Sisterwash65 - 2020-08-03 06:48:27

I can’t imagine being awake and aware the entire time. I also had a temporary in the IJ, placed first, for backup. I was totally out. I knew when the doc came in cause he said, “ Are you under there ?” I was covered up head to toe. I was given a combination of Versed and fentenyl and it worked. I’m pretty sure I didn’t answer him ! I didn’t discuss medication before hand either. I’m a 73 year old woman so I think they knew I was a 

wimp ! It’s very common to have these scary feelings. Read some of the posts under “ coping “ that will show you you’re not alone. Sounds like you still have a device check coming up soon. Your EP and device rep will fine tune the settings on your PM. I’d go prepared with questions about what’s going on. They should be able to help you ! By the way, did they know you were awake the whole time ? Seems they would have noticed. Versed has an amnesia effect, I’m told.

Best of luck to you.


It won't be so bad next time

by crustyg - 2020-08-03 07:47:20

Sorry to hear you had a terrible experience.  I wonder if the IV line was a well placed as they had thought - the IV benzo that they normally use really does cause amnesia.

Anyway, for your next PM box, it's an injection of local, skin incision, remove old box, swap to new PM, stitch up.  FWIW, my PM+leads implant was done under local only (at my specific request) and it had all worn off by the time the PM anchor stitch went in, and I felt all of the skin sutures.  No sense, no feeling.

It's possible to get Extended Life (==bigger battery) versions of PMs which can often last 12-14years before replacement.  Obviously fewer PM changes, *but* each PM comes with new tech, sometimes better features so it's not necessarily a bad thing to have a box change every 6-7years. When was the last time you promised yourself to keep the exact same car for 15years?  Old tech, no Bluetooth, no iPhone charger built-in etc.

Discuss it with your EP doc - between you it should be possible to make a shared decision.


by Jgwin - 2020-08-03 09:54:13

I'm sure they knew I was awake as I was talking to them. I felt everything and seeing things on the big screen tv's is what's messing with me. I keep remembering more and more which I'm being told is odd. I have a background in tech so I'm unfortunately aware of all the mishaps and complications of BT devices and programming etc..... 


Thanks for the comments. I'm really struggling with the reality of this all. I've had 2 days to recover and still feel pretty bad. No way I can go back to work yet like they thought I could. The antibiotics are messing with my vision and the BP meds are making me almost pass out. I appreciate knowing I'm not alone. Wish I would of found this place in the 3 days I made them give me to cope before surgery. 


by margmac - 2020-08-03 12:10:05

Hi, I was 46 when I got my 1st pacemaker. I am on my 4th at age 70. My last pacemaker lasted 10 years! I worry every time but I guess that is just my nature. I too have been awake every time and have been aware of what was going on. With time the memory does fade. I just want to reassure you that things will get better and they will fine tune the settings and soon you will adjust. I am 5 months out from my last surgery and doing pretty good. Hang in  there it does get better.


by Jgwin - 2020-08-03 12:14:35

Thanks margmac that really gives me hope!! I really appreciate you sharing that. I spent last week thinking I was going to loose decades off my life.

Others have also had no time to prepare

by crustyg - 2020-08-03 12:28:05

Re-reading your post I see that a lot of your emotional turmoil was the lack of time to prepare and the emotional shock of realising that a big part of your life is controlled by a little gadget inside you over which you have no control.  Actually you do - get the knowledge - the Net and here and then maximum charm with your EP team.

As one of our real experts says here, the emotional scars of a PM often last much longer than the physical ones.  I had months to prepare for my PM - I *wanted* it - and I still went through the anger and depression and wishing I was rid of it - partly due to incorrect programming, partly due to misunderstanding on my part.  We (almost) all get over it.

The trick is to try and focus on things that you can do, or the dangers that you can avoid (ICD) now that you have the gadget.  There are various versions of Cardiac Rehabilitation that many folk recommend very highly, which you might be able to join.

Yes, the EP knew that you were conscious - exactly as intended, so that if they need you to move, you will, at their command - but it sounds as though the midazolam was overlooked.  You could get your records (including the procedure) and see what drugs you were given.  My first ablation they didn't give me enough pain relief or sedation and I woke up during the procedure.  Nice nurse leaned in, said she was about to give me some more medication (to which I made a half-witty reply) and then I was out for another 30min.  Needed more fentanyl again though.

There's no doubt that any sense of having been bounced into a PM makes it more difficult to accept, but that way lies madness.  You have it now, it's going to make a positive difference, and in truth, even doctors (me) and nurses don't really like hospitals - as patients.  Bad things sometimes happen there - it's on the consent form!

I empathise.


by Sisterwash65 - 2020-08-03 16:38:20

I couldn’t agree more with Crustyg. Everything he said is right on !! I also didn’t have time to prepare for the idea of a PM. One day at my internist who I told of my tiredness and other symptoms and he called my cardio that day ! Cardio’s office called me and told me to come in at 10:30 the next day. I checked in to the hospital at 1:00pm, had a heart cath at 3:30 and a PM placement at 10:30 that night. I was scared and didn’t want to wait. My heart rate was 41 bpm the night before I went for my cardio appt.

Crustyg is right about educating yourself. I think TracyE said “ if I can understand something, I can accept it.” And that’s me. Try to learn all you can and think positive. Sounds simplistic but it works !

Been a while

by Jgwin - 2020-08-24 20:12:36

It's been almost a month now post implant. Gotta admit things are not getting better mentally. I Suffer from back and neck pain and my tens unit used to fix that but I can't use it anymore. Also I guess my usual drink after work is off the table. I'm hoping to be able to go swimming soon but was told that was on hold. Did anyone else still have massive mental and emotional issues a month after? I guess I'm still shocked to be 45 with a pacemaker as well. Usually having a positive fun outlook to going to this is really hard. 

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