5 months to battery replacement

Good evening everyone,  my 1st replacement is coming due in 5 months.  It will have lasted 12 years!  My current Meditronic device is for bradycardia and the ventricle paces 78% and the atria 1%. 

As each month passes, am I going to notice the wearing down of the battery?  I know that when it does happen finally change, the atria will pace my heart at 65 beats. 

Thanks yall,



Device replacement

by piglet22 - 2023-12-22 04:46:57

Hopefully all will go well and you will be given a date for admission etc.

Howeve, be aware that it can and does go wrong.

I was on 3 monthly checks in January 2016 having been told replacement was due at nearly 11 years with Medtronic pacemaker.

At about 7pm in the evening, the muscles over the device site began twitching at the same rate as my pulse.

This spread to my left arm at which point I phoned 111 the UK advisory service.

They had no idea what was going on and arranged an ambulance.

I was admitted to A&E and waited until midnight when the on call physiologist turned iup and confirmed that the battery had gone so low they the device had changed it's programmed mode.

Exactly why it affected my surrounding muscles was never explained, but possibly it was an alarm mechanism on the device.

No-one in A&E had come across this before.

After an uncomfortable night, it was replaced the next day.

Before I was discharged, an apologetic cardiologist saw me and I made my way home on the bus.

Not best pleased that it turned out like that and I now have a much reduced confidence in the department.

I'm due for replacement again soon, just at the time they have stopped face to face checkups and rely on what has already proved an unreliable home monitor. As the pacemaker is fairly old, downloads are manually initiated.

On reflection, I was lucky to have been at home in 2016, but could easily have been somewhere else, on transport, abroad and no idea what could have happened.

I've moaned about this before, but I believe my health trust is taking chances with my health and in fact the healthcare is worse now than 8 years ago.

If they manage to mess it up again, then there will be trouble.

Shouldn't notice anything

by LondonAndy - 2023-12-25 01:14:57

I had my first "box change" in October 2022, and noticed no difference before, during or after the procedure! I went to the London hospital by train in the morning, and came home on the train in the evening. 


by Tracey_E - 2023-12-27 14:13:11

I'm on #5, getting #6 in the next year. Nothing to it! At the very end, yes, it will cut off some of the extra functions and pace at a steady rate. I've never reached that point. I've always been able to schedule it before it got to where I could feel the difference. 

12 years is terrific!!

Pacemaker battery end of life and replacement

by sfp1 - 2023-12-28 17:48:07

Dear Natalie,

I was just going to post about the same issue! I am now at 3 months before my battery end of life. I also have a Medtronic dual chamber for bradycardia and other issues. I thought I could schedule an appointment to have my battery replaced BEFORE the safety shut down, but my cardiologist told me that by law, he is not able to schedule the battery replacement procedure until the battery actually goes into battery shut down (my heart rate will go down to 60 beats per minute without any warning!). 

My cardiologist said the safety mode would be obvious to me as I would likely feel the change in my heart rhythm as it slows down and have the following physical responses: difficulty going up stairs, difficulty breathing during exercising, fatigue, and possibly other symptoms.

I wrote to Medtronic to complain as this seems to be very inefficient. They responded that it is my choice what rate I want my heart to beat at...even though we have NO choice as to when the battery goes in to save mode. I am planning to research court precendents to see if there are others who have the same feeling of lack of control due to this manufacturer design. No one has been able to tell me who made the law which is making research rather challenging.

Tracey has always been a great source of information, but I see that she was able to schedule her procedure...I'm not sure if this battery save mode is specific to Medtronic or if other manufacturers have the same preset.

I admit to being anxious about this situation. I have a very busy work life and a daughter with special needs that I help with. My cardiologist assured me he would do everything possible to replace the battery within a couple of days if he or is colleague are able to free up their schedule, but it still means missing at least a couple of day of work before the procedure and feeling sick when my heart rate goes down. I wake up every day wondering if today will be the day it shuts down. It has been really hard! I've let close family and friends know and am planning taking an Uber to the hospital and getting help home afterwards (the hospital won't release me without an adult present).

I'm trying to joke about it, but it is still nerve wracking waiting for it to happen.

The good news is technology has advanced and the newer battery is supposed to be better and have a longer life than my current one, so hopefully the same will be true for you, Natalie.


it's not the law

by Tracey_E - 2024-01-07 10:53:54

Some insurance companies require us to wait until the mode switch, others do not. Some doctors are more willing to let it switch modes before they do the replacement. I've always had doctors more than willing to schedule as soon as I went to elective replacement and insurance has always covered it.

Susan, I would  clarify with your doctor, is it your insurance requiring you to wait or their office policy? It's not Medtronic, why would they care when you replace? They are getting paid the same for the new device regardless. If it's office policy, push them on it. It's crazy to have you on edge like this and let it become an emergency when it can simply be scheduled now at everyone's convenience. 


by dwelch - 2024-01-25 06:07:41

Sounds like Tracey_E is going to pass me by and get number 6.  Mine wont be too many years from now.  Im on device number five.  36 years of pacing.

Not a good track record for longevity.  Three of the four made it to term, number four we replaced half way through its life because I needed to move to a biventrical.  Of the other three, two of them had gone into the safety/fixed rate mode.  I have not needed to ask yet but my doc is indicating that some insurance companies are wanting to see the devices go into this mode and not authorize elective replacements.  Back in the day, sure, family event can I get it early, sure here you go.  Today, maybe not so much.  

All my replacments though they got me in pretty quick.  Not a great track record there first replacement doc broke a lead (so I have four using three), so spent the night.  That docs rule was new lead (inclucing initial device) you spend the night.  Number five had a new lead so I spent the night there, was good, I got extra antibiotics or whatever through the IV that  would not have had at home and night number one just sucks anyway, no sleep no comfort so who cares where you are, each day/night after that is much better.  

You have been thorugh this one time, so number two is easier than number one, no surprises, you have been through the recovery, if you remember much of it.  Aint no thing.

The device will give you plenty more months than you need to get in to get it replaced.  If you go into the mode then you know take the elevator instead of the stairs or just take it slow as it wont let your heart change rate to adapt to the exertion.  

You will not notice any change until the device switches modes.  It does not slow down as the battery slows down or anything like that.  The device makes a decision when a certain voltage is hit and it switches over.  

Even five months is not an accurate measurement from the software, it could be a couple few more or less, when it gets to weeks, that is a better measurement.

My first replacement almost 30 years ago, I think I was going in every 6 months, not sure if the phone boxes were a thing, that doc didnt have them.  He hooked me up (he was old school he did everything, no nurse for this and tech for that).  Hmmm,  hey what are you doing next week.  LOL.   It had switched over...potentinally for a few months.

feels like it's in safety mode now

by natalie - 2024-01-29 11:15:09

Saturday evening, my heart started flutterting and hasn't stopped.  I use my heart rate monitor on my phone. My heart rate hasn't dropped below 65 since I noticed the fluttering.  

Fluttering- This is what I call it since I'm not certain what's happening. I'm very sensitive to the feelings in my heart and I haven't felt like this - in 12 years. My heart is beating strongly - as if I have just ran quickly down the street. I have shortness of breath, dizziness and no energy.  

I am surprised because on December 20th, the technician said there was 5 months left on the battery. 

You know you're wired when...

Bad hair days can be blamed on your device shorting out.

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