Athlete with various types of heart block
Hi, I'm new to this forum but am finding it enormously useful.
I'm 45 and scheduled for pacemaker insertion on Monday and wanted to see if anyone has similar experiences to my own.
I'm an avid cyclist and runner, cycling about 100miles/ week and running about 15miles, the cycling volume has reduced from 200miles per week prior to the covid pandemic. I've always had a low heart rate, typically in the 50s and high 40s but over the last 4-5 years this has reduced to mid 30s at rest (lower when sleeping). I've been suffering from fatigue increasingly over the last 5 years, dizziness and light headedness, and unable to concentrate, get extreme and sudden onset of tiredness if I've been sitting for too long - I feel like I am twice my actual age. When exercising my heart rate maxes out at 167bpm, and I feel great for about an hour after, but really have to force myself to do it. I have a VO2 Max of 59.8, in part due to my low heart rate.
last October I visited my GP again to discuss the fatigue and light headedness, but this time he put me on an ecg and found I have a very weird heart rhythm and had me hospitalised the same day. I was discharged from hospital after a day of ECG monitoring with symptomatic bradycardia and second degree, type 1 heart block.
My rhythm follows this pattern:
Excercise: First Degree Heart Block with wide QRS but no dropped beats and max at 167
Walking: Second degree, type 1 heart block at 70-80 bpm
Rest/work (desk based): Second degree, type 1 heart block at 35-40bpm with less frequent junctional escape and what looks like a complete heart block (regular P to P intervals but no relation to the QRS).
Sleep: similar to rest but at 30-35bpm and occasional A-Fib alerts on my Apple Watch
I have been seeing a cardiologist to evaluate the rhythm and there is still confusion about the junctional escape / complete block. I have had an MRI and that shows athletic adaptation of the heart with enlarged ventricles and mild mitral regurgitation.
Long story, but I am now scheduled for a dual chamber pacemaker insertion, I'm glad to have some kind of resolution but am pretty anxious now as I wait for Monday to come. But I'm hopeful to regain some energy return to normality and feel like I'm still 45... ..and continue cycling!
You know you're wired when...
You need to be re-booted each morning.
My ICD/pacer is not a burden. I still play tennis and golf.