Very confused and nervous

Hello,
I am a very physically active 48 yr old male. I have been diagnosed with a Bradycardia. I have a resting heart rate of 40-45. I have had a slow rate of 50-58 for 25 years. I am only now becoming symptomatic with dizziness, etc. I enjoy running and can get my heart to respond normally when I start running, but it slows to below normal when I stop. Since I only need help with my resting heart rate, are there clubmembers that can recommend the best PM? Rate responsive? Type of sensor? Single or dual leads? Blended sensor? Thanks for the help


3 Comments

getting a pacemaker?

by CathrynB - 2007-07-23 09:07:43

Hi rsample: Welcome to Pacemaker Club! Wow -- we could be twins in terms of our stories (oops -- guess I'm 2 years older than you, so maybe not! LOL )

I'd been a runner for 30 years, also with a low heartrate, and my first symptom was in November when I fainted at work, then began having dizzy spells. I got my pacemaker in January. I agree with MSPACER's advice to you. I wore a holter monitor for 48 hours which revealed pauses (3-4 seconds) half a dozen times each day. My electrophysiologist then had me wear an "Event Monitor" for 3 weeks -- it only records your heartbeat for about 2 minutes at a time, and only when you press a button to activiate it because you're having symptoms (like dizzy or fainting). That revealed several 5-second pauses with dizziness, which is why I got the pacemaker. My doctor was also conservative in wanting to rule out other explantions for the problem before implanting a pacemaker.
In terms of the "best" pacemaker, that's pretty subjective. It seems most people on this site have PMs made by St. Jude or Medtronic, but lots of others show up occasionally too. I have a Medtronic and am happy with it. But in hindsight I wish I'd gotten a St. Jude because I'm a scuba diver and it would have allowed me to dive deeper than the Medtronic I have will. Talk with your EP about all the activities you want to do, and call the manufacturer before your surgery and make sure you're getting one that will work for your lifestyle. But it's also important that you get what your doctor is comfortable and familiar with. (And our member Ted will tell you to stay away from Guidant because of all the lawsuits, recalls, etc they've been involved in). My PM has a rate response mode, but I had them turn it off at my first post-op check because I didn't need it and it made me feel funny. All the settings can be turned on or off and adjusted, so you'll almost certainly have features you don't need, which is fine. Mine is dual lead, and with regard to that, you should get whatever your doctor recommends is needed for your medical condition. Everyone, and each diagnosis, is different, so we on this site can't really tell you what you should have.
If you're getting a pacemaker soon, let us know when so you can be in our thoughts that day, then we'll want to see a posting from you telling us how it went. Best wishes for resolution of your dizziness, and keep us posted. Take care, Cathryn

Has dr recommended pacemaker?

by MSPACER - 2007-07-23 09:07:44

Hi

Have you had a 24 hour holter monitor? Did it show heart block or pauses? Your low resting heart rate is most likely from excessive vagal tone due to good conditioning. I am an athlete too, and ran into the same issues as you. I was getting dizzy and my heart rate was going very low, with pauses. My doctor asked me to stop working out for about a month. Has your doctor asked you to de-condition for a little while, and increase your fluid and salt intake? My doctor took a conservative approach first before recommending a pacemaker. Sometimes that helps with the dizziness. Although it did not help me, because I had some other issues, ask your doctor about trying something like that. Make sure you have an electrophysiologist evaluate you first also, before you make your decision.

Hello,

by randrews - 2007-07-24 09:07:49

Our cases are similar. I have had my pm 4 months now and was 47 when I got it. I was also active and a runner. My bpm go up normally but my resting rate was in the 30's. It got to where I only felt good when I was running. When I passed out while watching tv was when they put the pm in. I have a medtronic and I guess it's ok. I felt aweful for a while but turning off the rate response like Cathryn said really helped. then I just need some time to adjust. I have a dual lead. The top chamber paces 70% of the time and the bottom almost never. But that stuff is all individual. My doctor gave me permission to run one week after the operation. But the nurse called me and told me to stop as a precaution. Take some time, remember, this a big deal to your body, but you will return to normal. I'm back to running and trying to get back to where I was.
Let us know how you are doing. How are you dealing with this emotionally?
Take care friend,
Rusty

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The experience of having a couple of lengths of wire fed into your heart muscle and an electronic 'box' tucked under the skin is not an insignificant event, but you will survive.