10 day post op pain

Hello all! I just had my first PM placed last Thursday, I am 30 years old and had a dual lead PM inserted. My incision is healing nicely, however, I've been having some hot, pain, tingling, and numbness down my left arm into my fingers, under my left breast feels very tender and sore like it's also healing from something? Right under my incision the skin hurts to touch, isn't hot or red,  but extremely painful. I also am having a hard time still managing some pain in the left arm, shoulder, arm pit and chest. I have the jitters and fluttering most of the time, is any or all of this normal and to be expected? 

this is my first PM, and I don't have anyone to bounce any of this off of- so hoping to find some support as I learn to cope with the changes and navigate the new life. 

thank you all for the time to read thru this long post! 


Post op pain

by R2D2 - 2024-01-28 20:27:07

Hello and welcome to the PM Club! This is an excellent place to get comfort and even answers to some of your questions.

I got a CRT-D (pacemaker/defibrillator therapy device) on July 17th which is bigger than a standard pacemaker but a lot of the healing advice I give is still applicable to you. In the beginning, you will notice all kinds of strange sensations, most of them completely normal. I felt my device 'pacing' every time it kicked in. It was unsettling to say the least. Part of my problem stemmed from no one telling me anything about what to expect. The doctors didn't say anything so I literally had to find this club to see how others responded to the same situation. 

The pain around the device is par for the course. Right now, sitting here typing at my table, it feels like someone sewed a good size rock in my body. It feels sort of heavy and burdensome. Other times, I don't really feel it. But I still don't press on it or put any sort of pressure directly on the device or it hurts. There was random breast pain, shoulder and neck and left arm pain as well that lasted for the first three months, now it still happens but much less often and I know what it is so I just ignore it. Then there are the other sensations that feel like the leads from the pacemaker are firing off in the wrong direction. I get muscle twitches in my chest cavity, random sensations that I just can't describe. I have asked about them and just get blank expressions from my doctors, like they just can't imagine I can feel all of that. 

The main thing to remember is that eventually you will hurt less and get more used to how your device works and the what and why questions you have will be answered. It's a pacemaker, so it is pacing your heart when you need your heart to beat faster. Sometimes I will just be driving my car and my pacemaker thinks my heart needs to go faster even though I'm just sitting. Strange things will make it kick in and then other times when I think it should be doing something, it isn't. Or now I can't feel it because the scar tissue has formed over the lead ends and deadened the sensations more. 

But... the pain in my armpit, left arm, and breast all pretty much went away after a few months. I'm 58 years old so I probably took longer to heal though. Keep that in mind. 

I agree with the advice that Angry Sparrow gave you, it's a good idea to not let any pets or kids bump your device. Protect that part of your body carefully, even when you're healed up. If you hurt, change positions and use pillows or whatever you need to prop your arm; I found that really helped me sleep at night. I use a special size pillow that doesn't allow my left arm to fall in front of me, which really helps the pain issue. I will be using that pillow or one like it for the rest of my life, a small price to pay for a device that hopefully will keep me alive for awhile longer. It has already saved my life last month by shocking a dangerous rhythm I had, luckily I had passed out before the thing "kicked" me.

Hang in there and ask any questions you want. We are here to help. 

It’s so early in healing

by Lavender - 2024-01-28 20:39:11

I hope you know not to use a sling anymore. Move your arms gently and don't lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. Keep the pacemaker side elbow lower than the shoulder but use the arm. 

Like R2D2, I use a pillow up against my device while sleeping that I drape my left arm over.

You may have been restrained in a weird position during the surgery. Some muscles get pulled too much. Also what your incision looks like outside may not reflect the healing going on inside-which takes longer. Nerves and muscles are stretched and cut to make the pocket to hold your pacemaker. 

Use soft ice packs on the areas that are sore, making sure to keep a thin dish towel or something between the ice and your skin. I was told to take 650 mg Tylenol every four hours. Drink lots of extra water to aid in hydration and healing. 

Your heart is also recovering from having wires screwed into it, so you might be more aware of it beating, but it will be ok.

Be of good cheer because how you feel today is not how you will always feel. I'm nearly three years into have a CRT-P pacemaker. It hurt now and then most of the first seven months. Then I noticed that I wasn't thinking of it any more most of the time. 

When my doctor gave the okay, I went for therapeutic massage of my pacemaker side arm. It really loosened it up!

 I am sorry you're having such discomfort. I know that I had a one week wound check at my cardiologist so maybe you're scheduled to see someone soon?  May God hasten your healing, calm your mind, and help you recover. Hugs

Overwhelming relief

by 30Momof3 - 2024-01-28 22:46:32

Angry Sparrow- thanks to your post, I was able to pay closer attention to how I was using the left side and seeing where I was making mistakes that could have possibly had lifelong adverse effects. I was moving my upper half instead of the shoulder but using from the elbow down more than the shoulder  I've made adjustments already in the last hour and noticed where things were stiff already from not using it because it hurt and I was scared to pull the leads, but am now being conscious in how I use my body and that side, seriously you probably saved me from frozen shoulder because I never would have seen where my mistakes were without you. So, thank you- truly from the bottom of my heart.

R2D2- you literally brought me to tears. I was also ill prepared in the sense that I wasn't prepared at all. Everything happened really fast, from having passing out episodes, and being in AFIB for a long time and not knowing. They initially thought I was passing out from a neurological issue, but then ruled it out and I did the Holter monitor, then saw a cardiologist immediately after they got the results, then saw him once and he sent me to the heart failure specialist, and two weeks later I was in surgery. I have felt very alone and very lost during this process. I didn't have anyone I could talk to about it or relate to, to know that someone else was where I was at or had been where I'm at and that I wasn't being a baby because everything hurt in weird ways. The validation I received from your message has seriously impacted my whole mindset and depression about how alone I felt and how crazy I felt. And we might be strangers- but have also changed my life. 

Lavender- your message about being weirdly positioned in Surgery, the healing inside the heart, as well as my chest, honestly makes so much sense. It does feel exactly like an over exertion or weird placement and they did say I was "squirrely" during surgery LOL and at my one week post op they mentioned possible nerve damage with the very specific lines of hot burning sensations down very specific spots in certain positions and how it might always be like that, which makes sense considering what goes into the implant surgery. 

I stumbled upon this page while googling question after question and I am so thankful I found yall. 


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Since I got my pacemaker, I don't pass out anymore! That's a blessing in itself.