Dealing with Hot Humid and Cold weather

Hey all! Another question from me! Looking for any feedback any of you may have with regards to dealing with weather extremes after getting a PM or ICD.

So about 8 months ago I had an ICD inserted to deal with hereditary AHCM. Previous to the procedure I had never, ever had any symptoms of having a heart issue. 

The recovery process when very well and quickly. 

What I am wondering, is suddenly now, I am having much more difficulty dealing with both hot humid conditions and cold weather conditions, that never bothered my previously. Now when I say hot and humid, I am only talking about 30C with about 75% humidity. Before my procedure I would have said that was nothing and been able to handle it without any problem. Same with cold. Just back from a visit to Canada and found dealing with -5C very hard. Previously it would need to be closer to -20C to start to be difficult to deal with. 

Just wondering with the ICD if the circulation is unable to compensate to deal with heat and cold as it used to be. Has anyone else here found anything similar. This is a brand new, latest tech Medtronic wireless, remotely monitored ICD.



The heart has to work harder to support us during hot or cold weather

by Gemita - 2024-01-18 04:13:29

Mike I see you had an ICD implanted to protect you from a heart condition known as Apical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (AHCM) which I read is a rare form of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  This usually affects the apex of the left ventricle and rarely involves the right ventricular apex or both.

Hot or cold weather conditions should not directly affect your device, but extremes of temperature can certainly adversely affect the heart.  Our heart has to work harder during extreme weather conditions to keep our body temperature at a safe level.  This can be hard for those of us with a heart condition and trigger symptoms like chest pain, arrhythmia, breathlessness. 

Cold temperatures can cause our heart rate/blood pressure to increase,  our blood to thicken, which in worst cases can lead to blood clotting. This can increase our risk of heart attacks and strokes. During hot weather our body has to work harder too, to keep its core temperature to normal levels.  This puts extra strain on the heart, lungs and kidneys, so it's particularly important to stay hydrated since we will be losing fluids which could cause a drop in blood pressure or trigger arrhythmias.

I appreciate before your ICD you never had a problem during extreme weather conditions.  It would therefore be all too easy to blame your intolerance to adverse weather conditions on the piece of metal inside you.  I would suggest it is your heart that is beginning to struggle when it is under pressure.  Perhaps your heart condition has changed (worsened) since your device implant?  

Your question:  “Just wondering with the ICD if the circulation is unable to compensate to deal with heat and cold as it used to.  Has anyone else here found anything similar".  This statement makes a great deal of sense to me, except it is not the device that is struggling to maintain good circulation during extreme weather conditions, but it is your own heart.  You may therefore find you need extra help during these periods, perhaps adjustments to any medication and/or ICD settings, to help with symptoms?   In the meantime, learn to "pace" yourself better when you are struggling, to help prevent symptoms from occurring which could trigger unwanted pacing therapies like anti tachycardia pacing or defibrillator shocks. 

I would speak to your doctors to see what more can be done to help ease your symptoms.  I hope for the very best Mike

Temperature extremes

by Selwyn - 2024-01-18 08:49:47

Hi Mike,

As Gemita says, any extreme temperature is a strain on the circulation. The internal  diameter of blood vessels is important  as an engineer you will understand that the narrower the opening, the more pressure is needed to pump ( viscosity staying the same) through that opening. The normal rate response setting of pacemakers are not designed for this.

Cold kills. The narrow blood vessels slow down the circulation making blood clots more likely to form. The same with dehydration. 

One of the problems I have discussed with my consultant dealing with my apical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the question of compliance of the heart. In basic terms this is the elasticity of the muscle to adapt to change in demand. Normally, the heart is elastic enough to cope with increased filling. This is impaired in hypertrophic cardiomyopathies. This may affect breathing, especially when suddening tying to initiate exercise/stress/ times of needing more cardiac output.  

With regard to medication, I was intolerant of beta blockers for exercise. They are also known to constrict peripheral blood vessels - not what you want in the cold.

It is -3 deg C today : I have electric gloves. I did have electric socks ( the battery failed). Now I just have thermal this that and the other and lots of layers. 

As we age, we get more intolerant of extremes of temperature. You will find that the older age groups can be killed by such excesses, such deaths are always ciculatory or blood clots, or pneumonia. COPD is exacerbated by temperature extremes.  Global warming is not helpful.



Hydration hydration hydration

by Lavender - 2024-01-18 10:10:04

Just a word to the wise. In any weather keeping hydrated is key. You need more water intake than you used to. 😉

Thanks for the comments.

by Mike123 - 2024-01-19 05:33:59

The ICD implant is 8 months ago now. Even up to very recently I have spent much time in the Yukon, Canada (extreme colds) and in Australia with some (extreem heat and humidity). There has been a sudden change in my ability to handle both the heat and cold. The heart was very good at it up until the ICD started regulating it (the PM function). Seems it doesn't allow for any increase or decrease of HR to deal with extreme temperatures. 

Still, so good thoughts here to consider.

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