Neurological symptoms after pacemaker insertion?

Hi guys,

Going through a tough time with symptoms nearly 3 months after 2-lead PM insertion and would love to know if anyone has gone through anything similar.

I'm a pretty healthy 57 year old.  I was diagnosed with permanent A-Fib in the summer, and two months later had a successful Cardioversion which restored my natural rhythm but unfortunately led to bradychardia and HR in the low 40s.  After admission to hospital, and while still taking bisoprolol and amiodarone, I suffered a 15 second heart pause.  I was immediately sent for an emergency PM  which had to be delayed for 9 days while I recovered from Covid.  Subsequent check-ups consistently indicate PM is working correctly (base rate set to 60 and rate response enabled) and no indication of infection.

However, in the last few weeks I have been suffering from weakness and tingling in the arms, a strange numbness/rippling sensation in my left cheek and generally feeling crappy.  Cardioliogist feels it's not heart related and I've been referred to a neurologist. Brain MRI revealed a few white matter spots (which I'm told can just be part of the aging process) but nothing yet that would indicate MS or something else sinister.  Lined up for more tests.

I'm just wondering if anyone has gone through anything like this because it is becoming a real struggle to stay positive and keep going.  This could just be a separate neurological issue but the timing so close to PM insertion makes me somewhat suspicious.  Anyway, thanks for reading a let me know what you think - Sean


6 Comments

Concerning symptoms

by Gemita - 2023-12-29 17:58:32

Sean I was concerned to read your post.  It is difficult to know what has happened.  It could well be a number of things related to your recent illness.

Can I remind you that you were in persistent AF for a long time prior to being successfully treated with cardioversion.  Did something more than bradycardia occur during the cardioversion when you converted from Afib into normal sinus rhythm?  You then needed an urgent pacemaker but developed Covid.  You clearly have experienced trauma from the implant procedure and from the shock of developing bradycardia.  You were, or perhaps still are taking a powerful medication called Amiodarone which can potentially cause some very serious side effects if not closely monitored, including I believe neuro-toxicity, thyroid dysfunction and pulmonary fibrosis.  I have no doubt your body will have suffered psychologically, physically and emotionally.

As a matter of fact after my pacemaker implant I experienced some tingling, numbness in my left arm, some fingers and toes.  Toes because of earlier, pre implant catheter access into my right femoral artery which caused a Haematoma/Pseudo aneurysm.  Some 5 years on, I am still having intermittent nerve pain, tingling, pulsations in my right leg. The body can take a long time to heal since when they feed pacemaker leads into blood vessels, this can traumatise delicate tissue and nerves.

I am confident that you will start to feel better given time.  Let us be honest, if AF has stopped that would be good news.  If you have been able to stop Amiodarone that would be even better news?  Following pacemaker implant it can take months to heal for some of us - at least 3+ months . . . and finally, none of us really knows what Covid is capable of causing?  So can we really put this down to our pacemaker alone.  I don’t think so.  What is important now is that you build up your strength, start believing the worst is behind you.  Continue to investigate your symptoms by all means until you and your team are confident that nothing serious is being missed, but please do not exhaust yourself in the process.  Allow yourself time to heal and to rest. 

I send you my very best wishes for a good recovery.

I agree

by R2D2 - 2023-12-29 22:54:15

Gemita summed it all up. I had Covid 3 times, each time I suffered with even more troubling symptoms. Plus I've had my ICD since July and am still on the mend. What can be stressful are the many oddball sensations that I feel, and it seems as though they change regularly and come and go. 

Try not to worry about the smaller stuff and concentrate on the bigger picture; and give yourself more time to heal. 

Neurological symptoms

by H van Dyk - 2023-12-30 06:25:05

Could still have something to do with Covid. Also comes to mind (from my own experience) that these symtoms could point in the direction of a lack of vitamin B12. Did your medical team already do a detailed blood test?

Long Covid

by Selwyn - 2023-12-30 16:32:54

Sorry to hear about your ill health Sean.

Perhaps  your doctors could look at the diagnosis of Long Coviid? This is becoming more common as a medical realisation . The diagnosis is likely to be one of exclusion of everything else. There is no medical test for this diagnosis.

Your problems do not fit into a pacemaker complication. You may be better letting the medics do their thing rather than combing the medical literature as this is not known to reduce anxiety. 

I wish you a full recovery.

Thanks for comments and update

by Irish77 - 2024-01-06 14:45:38

Gemita, R2D2, H van Dyk, Selwyn

Thanks so much guys for taking the time to reply. Your comments are so helpful and positive.

I realize I'm only 3 months into this pm journey so am trying to stay patient and positive. Yes, I (like most) have suffered a lot of trauma and am definitely working on my anxiety management techniques when symptoms get too rough. Regarding amiodarone, After the heart pause, that drug was stopped and hasn't been resumed but I am taking a low dose of bisop. Although the doctors won't confirm it, I suspect that being on amiodarone and Bisoprolol with a very low hr, probably caused the heart pause. My HR appears to be in good rhythm and bp is low. I just continue to feel a little rawness in the pocket site and that horrible achiness and tingling in the arms. Had a second consult with a neurologist and they can't find anything wrong with me neurologically.

Thanks again for the support,

Sean

Nothing found neurologically

by Irish77 - 2024-01-16 16:29:57

Hi guys, just to round off this thread, the neurologists have found nothing serious in my brain scans other than some normal aging stuff. I was prescribed Rivotril (Clonazepam) which is muscle relaxer and anti-anxiety medication and my symptoms have mostly disappeared. I'm hoping that I won't need this long-term but the immediate relief certainly points to the real toll that trauma and anxiety can have on us when we go through this. Sean

You know you're wired when...

You fondly named your implanted buddy.

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