Newbie

Hi all! I'm new to PMC, glad I stumbled upon it! Brief backstory, I'm 26 years old, I've had 5 previous ablations, my latest being two weeks ago. Unfortunately it put me into a brady junctional rhythm after I was discharged and I was throwing 6 second long pauses every couple of minutes so last week I had a Medtronic dual chamber pacemaker placed. They were able to implant it under the muscle so it wasn't as cosmetically noticeable (which I wasn't concerned about but they were due to my age) and the healing process has been quite painful. I'm not on any beta blockers anymore and am being paced approx 25-30% of the time. I know it has only been a week and I'm probably still in shock from everything that has happened. 

I have quite a bit of questions so I thank you all in advance for any advice or insight you may have. How long did it take for your pain to go away after implantation and were you able to return to a normal life after the healing process? Have you found anything that interferes with your daily activity since having a pacemaker? How does it feel to get the batteries changed when needed?  Are there things I should avoid? And lastly, is it normal to feel dizzy in the coming days after implantation and how do I know when/if my parameters need to be adjusted? Thank you again for any words of advice or help, I'm sorry for the lengthy post, I truly do appreciate it!


3 Comments

Newbie?

by Gemita - 2023-03-07 07:51:56

TNK, welcome to the Pacemaker Club.  I am sorry to hear about the number of ablations you required.  I hope at least your arrhythmia has finally been controlled since I see you no longer take beta blockers.  

Newbie? well, you sound more like one of us already, talking about “parameters needing adjusting” after only receiving your pacemaker last week.  I am really impressed.  I knew precious little about my pacemaker at your stage and am still learning after nearly 5 years.

To answer your questions:  

How long did it take for your pain to go away after implantation and were you able to return to a normal life after the healing process?  

My pain from the procedure lasted for several months because I developed a few complications and needed neuropathic pain relief and more time for healing.  Most members though heal and feel less pain as each week passes.  Certainly by 6 weeks you should be fairly well healed, although you should go by how you feel before pushing too hard.  I was able to carry out certain activities, even with my pain symptoms, well before the 6 week healing period.  

Have you found anything that interferes with your daily activity since having a pacemaker? 

No.  The pacemaker doesn’t prevent me from doing anything.  In fact it actually helps me to perform many activities better.  The only health condition that can interfere with my daily activities is my arrhythmia Atrial Fibrillation since when I am truly symptomatic, the symptoms of breathlessness and instability that it can cause are extremely disabling.  As you may know the pacemaker is not a treatment for Atrial Fibrillation, although pacing has certainly helped control my arrhythmias and my QoL has also improved.

How does it feel to get the batteries changed when needed?  

According to experienced members, I believe a battery change is fairly straightforward, certainly less traumatic than the original procedure since our leads, if sound, are left in place.  They open the area where the device has been placed, disconnect the leads from the old device and attach a new device to the same leads and then close up again.   I see you have had your device placed under the muscle, so you might feel a little more pain and discomfort from the procedure and during healing.

Are there things I should avoid? 

Only your doctor can advise from knowing your medical condition if there is anything you should be avoiding, so best ask him.  However, I don’t find myself avoiding anything in the way of my daily activities but I always listen to what my body is telling me and never push through when I experience difficult symptoms.  The best advice I can give is to try to live a healthy lifestyle, not because of the pacemaker, but because it will help you to live a longer, healthier and happier life.  

And lastly, is it normal to feel dizzy in the coming days after implantation and how do I know when/if my parameters need to be adjusted?

Yes it was for me.  After implant, it was normal for my heart to be a bit “jumpy” and to trigger some unwanted symptoms like some breathlessness, dizziness.  Remember they have attached leads to heart tissue and we are experiencing pacing for the first time and our hearts and bodies need to get used to this.  I started noticing some new arrhythmias develop and I certainly had palpitations for the first few months until my heart settled down.  My doctors didn’t want to go in too heavily and change Settings at that stage, preferring to wait until things had settled.  However, you should go by how you are feeling and if dizziness becomes a problem, please don’t hesitate to call your doctor for advice.  A well set pacemaker should not cause dizziness or any other symptoms but heart rhythm disturbances may well do.  Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids.

 

Hi there, newbie๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿผ

by Lavender - 2023-03-07 09:27:19

Wow for a youngster, you've been through a lot already. Isn't it amazing all the things that can be done to keep us alive? I think of years past when nothing much could help the heart conditions like ours! 
Your questions:

How long did it take for your pain to go away after implantation and were you able to return to a normal life after the healing process?

I didn't have a sub pec, and that does hurt more and take longer to heal-but the result is nice because it's less noticeable after the swelling abates   Mine lies flat though, and can't be seen by anyone-even in lower cut tops.

Healing took longer than what was expected. My left arm hurt a long time, my neck was sore and throbbed if I leaned over.  I was tired and started taking daily naps.  I did drive and shopped, took walks. I started getting massages from a licensed therapist to keep my muscles loose-of course-never touching the pacemaker site! One day-seven months after getting the CRT-P, I noticed I had no pain. 
 

The pacemaker doesn't stop me from doing anything in life. Without it, I would be dead. That would stop me from doing EVERYTHING in life. ๐Ÿ˜ต‍๐Ÿ’ซI have complete heart block-the AV node died on its own and I had left bundle branch block for years prior.  I was running on fumes and stalling a lot-sudden drop attacks.

How does it feel to get the batteries changed when needed?  

Hey no need to worry about that already! It's not expected to be a hard thing-much much easier than what you're going through now. 
 

Are there things I should avoid?
Don't lift anything more than about eight pounds for 6-8 weeks...I was told.  Don't raise the pacemaker side arm-keep the elbow below the shoulder.  DO move the arm and use it so it doesn't get stiff. Do not wear a sling longer than a day.

And lastly, is it normal to feel dizzy in the coming days after implantation?

I only was woozy twice after my surgery: you need a lot more water to stay hydrated! You also must not get overheated. Stay cool and drink water!

...and how do I know when/if my parameters need to be adjusted?

You will most likely have a one month checkup of your pacemaker. They can discuss with you how you feel and check how it's working. If you have any symptoms keep a note so you can take it along and discuss.

Be good to yourself! Long happy painfree life to you!๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ’—

Changing the pacemaker at end of battery life

by piglet22 - 2023-03-07 10:53:52

I didn't have a good experience in 2016 when the first PM was 11-years old and I was on 3-monthly checks.

One evening at home my left arm and pectoral muscles started twitching in time with my pulse.

Putting two and two together, I decided it was something to do with the PM. I ended up calling the 999 ambulance grabbing the keys and was in A&E. A senior paramedic said a PM battery couldn't twitch a muscle. So much for that advice. What does he think the PM is there for?

It took nearly 6-hours for a physiologist to turn up and make some temporary adjustments to stop the twitching.

Apparently, the battery had gone so low, all the original settings had gone and the PM had changed mode.

It was decided to change it the following morning, so after 19:00 to 03:00 in A&E, put on a ward woken up at 06:00 and prepared for surgery.

Went down and they got me ready for external pacing in case I didn't have enough residual pulse left while they removed and refitted the new PM.

I don't remember much of it, other than being covered head to toe under a shroud and experiencing some weird hallucinations.

I would put it as slightly worse than the first implant where I was allowed to choose which music I liked to hear. I let them choose.

What should have been an organised procedure turned out to be an emergency admission because someone tried to squeeze the last millivolts out of the battery.

You know you're wired when...

You prefer rechargeable batteries.

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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!