Symtoms after pacemaker implant

Hello All, My Dad just had a pacemaker implanted one week ago for bradycardia, he was also prescribed beta-blockers for papatations. He is still having episodes of palpatations and funny sensations like heart "thumping," and he can feel cold at times and yet flushed at other times. The Doctors have checked the pacemaker and all results show that it is running properly. Can anyone tell me if they experience similiar or even different, or funny sensations or changes since their pacemaker was implanted? The Doctors are saying it's anxiety and he takes small doses of Paxil and Xanax as needed. No one has told us what he should expect to feel or what or what not to be worried about? Any shared information will help at this point. I want to be sure my Dad is safe and comfortable with what is going on with his body. Thank you so much in advance. Ann


Problems After Pacemaker Implant

by SMITTY - 2007-07-03 01:07:12

Hello Ann

I’m sure your dad and you are a little confused and concerned after getting a pacemaker implanted and having the symptoms your dad is experiencing. I have experienced some of the same symptoms during the seven years (I got it at age 71) I’ve had my pacemaker. I’ve also had my doctors to tell me my pacemaker was working well, yet my problems have continued.

Let me back up for a second. The pacemaker can be running properly and have these symptoms exist. As briefly as I can let me try to explain how I understand a pacemaker works. It will have a high and low setting (mine has settings of 60 to 100) and these are based on what the doctor knows about the patient and thinks are best for that patient. For this discussion I’ll use my setting as examples. By the way one of the reasons I got my PM was for bradycardia. When my heart rate drops below 60 the PM will try to keep it at 60. The PM then monitors each heart beat by checking to see if the hearts natural pacemaker is going to send the electrical impulse to cause a heart beat. If it doesn’t sense this forthcoming impulse the PM will then supply the necessary impulse to cause the heart beat. Then when my heart rate exceeds 100 my PM takes itself out of the game and lets my heart go on its own. Of course the instant my heart rate drops below 100 it will start helping as needed. So, the pacemaker can be running properly, but the heart beat can still be irregular as sometimes the PM will sense a signal from the hearts natural PM and not help when in fact that signal was not good enough to cause a heart beat. My description of this is the hearts natural pacemaker is faking out my PM.

For this reason, I was told by the doctor that implanted my PM that it would not prevent PVC or skip beats. As for the palpations, I know what they are and how they feel, but I’ve not learned how a PM may, or may not, help them. I hae them too frequently and know how they can hurt. Recently mine are happpening with physical exertion.

I have been going through rather severe episodes of skip beats, PVC and palpations for about three months and my pacemaker has been little help. I have recently had prescribed for me a beta blocker, and two different anti-arrhythmia medications. They have helped some, but not a great amount. I’ll no try to comment on the anxiety because that is one I’ve never been troubled with.

I will mention this is my 8th try on a beta blocker during the last 25 years and I have found them to consistently cause a couple of things for me. One is the least bit too high a dosage and I get palpations and in addition the beta blockers always make me very tired. And if you wonder why I keep having them prescribed, I keep getting new doctors and for some reason cardiologists seem to be in love with beta blockers. Sooner or later I’ll have to tell my current cardiologist that I have enjoyed all of the beta blocker I can stand.

As for how your dad should feel, I would say not to worry about the palpations or funny sensations, unless they began to interfere with his activities or unless the pain gets severe. Some times these things will correct themselves. You don’t say if these did or did not start after the PM surgery. If they did start after the surgery, they could be from the trauma from the surgery experienced by his body in general and heart in particular.

One thing for certain, the pacemaker should not be causing him pain. And I’ll even go so far as to say that I’m not surprised at his doctor being little help. They may know enough to implant the things, but when the patient does not respond according to the text books, they are lost. I frequently say my doctor knows about as much about my pacemaker as I do about my computer. I can turn my computer on and hit certain keys and if it doesn’t respond according the instructions I have I’m lost. Well that PM is in effect a miniature computer and not enough doctors that are implanting them know enough about them to be of real help with a problem such as your dad is having. Your only recourse is to get another doctor or ask to have the manfacturers rep to take a look.

Now I’ll stop bending your ear. I wish your dad the best and I hope you can keep us updated.


problems after pacemaker

by bini - 2007-07-03 09:07:12

I like your dad just had a pacemaker put in a week ago as well (junes 27th to be exact). I also feel slight palpatation and my doctors said it is normal...I actually notice them when I am sitting. I also get cold and hot flashes as well, I am still new to the pacemaker world but I think these sensations might be from my anxiety and from the fact that my body is still recovering from the surgery.
I am not a Dr, so please don't go solely by this, I would still have your dad check with his Dr. if these symtoms don't go away. Good Luck, I hope all works out well for him!!!!!!

PM & palpitations

by Vai - 2007-07-04 01:07:51

Looks like your dad has both slow (bradycardia) and "fast" problems ( palpitations -some form of arrthymia associated with tachycardia). The PM will fixed the bradycardia. Within the 1st month, your dad will visit the doctor to have the PM interrogated and some some fine tuning done to improve his condition. However the PM does not address the palpitation problems. The beta blockers are meant to help suppress the palpitations. The doctors will need to work with your dad to determine the needed dosage. With the PM in place, the doctors may increase the dosage to assess the best levels to minimize or "near-eliminate" the palpitation episodes. It will be helpful to record down (date & time) your body feelings to help the doctor read yoir situation more accurately.
The drawback is that the beta blockers will make you tired. So you will need lots of rest and also get a exercise routine to get the energy levels up.
Best of luck.


by 220 chandler ave - 2007-07-04 08:07:57

I had my PM implant on 5-24-07 and as of 7-3-07, I have finally started to feel some better. I do have to agree with some of the comments that the doctors cannot predict how any of us will react to the surgery or how long it takes to recover. My doctor released me to go back to work too soon. and I am out on leave for awhile yet. I work a part-time job. My cardiologist told me I too needed to get my anxiety under control. Lots of rest and listen to your body, but getting on with your life is also helpful. Hope this info helps som. Sharon


by randrews - 2007-07-04 12:07:59

Hi Ann,
I've had my pm for about three and a half months now. I also felt palpitations for a while and had this muscle twitch by my left chest for a while. I was also diagnosed with bradychardia. Since the implant I have been feeling better but I have been diagnosed with panic disorder. I've never had this before but I am now taking paxil and have xanax if I need it. When the anxiety hit I'd get light headed, tingly hands and feet and and I'd be hot or cold. It was really tough for a while but now I'm doing much better and back to a regular routine. I've had the pm checked and it's always fine. I've come to the conclusion that for me, it really is anxiety. But, the recovery isn't easy and there is lots to deal with. It does get better over time. But it takes time. I'd encourage your dad to get lots of rest but to also begin a regulare routine as much as possible. This way he can begin to reclaim his life again. Talking with friends and giving voice to feelings may also help to get a handle on any emotions he may have.
We are all here for you and your dad,

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