new to the club

long time lurker, first time poster

i'm a 37 year old woman who just underwent a pacemaker implant 3 days ago for severe sinus bradycardia. overall, i'm feeling okay- sore and tired, but i know this was the right move for my best life (i'm a single mum to a  8 year old boy, i need all the energy i can get)

i have some general anxiety about the whole thing, there are lots of thoughts running through my head (is the dizziness normal? is that chest pain or indigestion? wow, it's weird to be able to feel a strong, consistent, heartbeat. have i had too much caffeine? how badly did they butcher my chest tattoo?) but my biggest worry is messing up my healing, and having to re-place the leads. what's normal? what should i truly be avoiding? discharge papers say one thing, but i'd love to hear real life, first hand, experiences  

can someone out there talk me off the ledge so i don't doctor google deep drive and convince myself i need a full transplant? thanks to the world's current happening, i'm doing this pretty much solo as my family is scattered across north america 



Welcome to the Club!

by MinimeJer05 - 2021-09-24 17:15:44


Let me be the first to tell you that the things you are experiencing and thinking are COMPLETELY normal and the same thoughts and feelings that ran through all of our heads when we had our PMs implanted.

I had mine put in right before Labor Day and they actually had to go back and re-do a lead as I sit up to use the restroom after surgery and my heart just dropped like a bat out of hell -- I guess the lead became dislodged and all was well the next morning after round two.

The biggest thing for me was not lifting that arm on the side of the PM too high up or too far out to the side. My arm and sholder were very sore for about 1-2 weeks. I still haven't really lifted above my head intentionally, but can slowly feel things going back to "normal".

I thought I read that it could take a few days to a few weeks for the scaring and everything to heal and settle -- so I would definitely not go too crazy with that arm.

At the same time, you don't want it to lock up, so make sure you are stretching and moving it within your comfortable means. A little bit more each day is the key and no lifting more than a milk jug.

As for the other symtoms, I am still experiencing vision spells and just general vision issues, which I have been told are not normal and I am actively working with my medical team to find the root cause, but don't be alarmed if you feel "out of it" for a week or two.

I experienced a weird tingly senstation near my incision and on that side of my body on and off and went to the ER and was told that it was completely normal and likely nerve damage or muscle damage. Or just leaning/laying on my arm and then a delayed reaction/response.

Make note of anything odd or off that you feel and try to associate it with a pain scale of 1 - 10. If things get severely worse or if you experience any shortness of breath/chest tightening or pain, then by all means call the ER and seek further instructions.

But try not to let your anxiety get the best of you as the PM surgery no doubt did a number on you both physically and mentally and it takes time for your body and mind to heal. 

Drink lots of water and rest often!

Take care


Perfectly normal

by AgentX86 - 2021-09-24 19:11:57

Your heart has just been whacked.  It can take it a while to adjust to being paced.  Expect some time of weirdness.  Often EPs implant PMs with pretty much the default settings, then go back some time later and tweak them to better suit you.  It's not done right away because it's not possible to know how you'll respond or what settings will be best for you so they often/usually just go down the middle.  Evidently, this leaves something to be desired for you, right now.

Since your PM was put in for Bradycardia (low heart rate), you may also be chronotropically incompetent (scary words for "heart rate doesn't respond to exertition").  Correcting this requires optimizing  a myriad of settings unique, not only to you, but your lifestyle.

The fact that you feel like your ODing on caffiene is a good sign.  It means that your body is getting what it needed for some time.  I would describe post surgery feeling as a high.  For a few weeks, I thought I could jump buildings at a single bound and was only held on the ground because I couldn't raise my arm.  ;-)

Anxiety and (any) surgery often comes as a package.  If you're truly worried. ask.  As Jer said, if you have severe , pressing, chest pain get help immediately, or sooner.  If it's a sharper pain, it's probably just the split in your chest.  But again, when in doubt, ask! You are most likely to have small pains, sometimes shooting pains, sometimes "and bites", or severe itching for a few months.  This is all part of the package.  Nerves take time to heal.  While they are, they can fool the brain into thinking all sorts of things are going on.

Don''t worry about what they'll say about you being a hypochondriac.  It's your only body.

Off the ledge. You're doing fine!



by Theknotguy - 2021-09-25 10:43:46

General anxiety about the whole thing is normal.  After all, they've opened up a large pocket and put a large piece of metal in there.  If you were calm about the whole thing I'd be more worried.  

Previous discussions on this forum is that you'd have to be in a serious car accident in order to dislodge the leads. In which case you'd have other problems instead of just loose leads. Most of the reports about loose leads have been where they worked themselves out because of the heart muscle action.  Used to hear that a lot back in 2013-2015 but not so much since then. The only other dislodged lead I heard about was the security guard  at the hospital where I volunteered who was bench pressing 300 pounds.  He said he knew he was pushing it and expected it to happen.  So unless you're in a serious car accident or have a sudden urge to take up extreme weight lifting, I really wouldn't worry.  

What to avoid ...  Anything that tells you your life is going to be bad post pacemaker.  I've gone back to living a better than "normal" life because I now have a regular and strong heartbeat.  The same should be for you.  After all, you've got the active eight year old and you'll want to see him grow up.  It's great being able to watch the kids grow up and enjoy life.  

What to avoid …  Over thinking it.  Just take one day at a time.  Most of the constant worry never happens so it only wears you out to sit around and worry all the time.  

What to expect?  There will be some soreness due to the implant.  That can go on for a while.  How long depends upon your body and how it heals.  My time frame is way off because I had broken ribs due to CPR.  So it took a lot longer for me to heal.  But for you, you may experience feelings like "ant bites" as the scar over the pacemaker pocket heals. Some people report sharp pains that last just a few seconds and then go away.  Other people report weird feelings in the stomach and chest area.  Still others report pain going up into the jaw.  Mostly it's due to the body adjusting and nerves healing.  It eventually goes away.  

I haven't run into anything around the house nor in "normal" day-to-day living that will affect the pacemaker.   Any comments about cell phones, store security devices, radio towers, tv towers, magnets, induction cooking, and most other things you encounter in day-to-day living will have no impact upon your pacemaker.  That eliminates a lot of worries.  So you can go on enjoying your eight year old's' life.  

The problems with my pacemaker have been due to industrial situations I've gotten into.  My pacemaker has an accelerometer in it and I've grabbed vibrating pieces of equipment that have fooled my pacemaker into thinking I'm running when I'm not.  It's kicked up my heart rate which startles you but it leaves no damage.  I've grabbed a live 110 volt line, leaned over a running car engine, and have drilled over a hundred holes with my pacemaker lying on top of a running electrical drill - all with no problems with my pacemaker.  Most people don't run into those situations so that means you shouldn't have to worry about most things you'll run into.  I also move 4x8 foot melamine sheets that weigh over 55 pounds with no problems to my pacemaker.  My back muscles say otherwise though.  

For you now it should be the tweaking that is necessary to adjust your pacemaker to you. Then going on to enjoy watching your eight year old grow up.  I hope your adjustment to your pacemaker goes well.  

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