ASD, A-Fib, A-Flutter and now PM

What a year! I started off feeling fine. A routine physical with EKG informed me I had atrial fibrillation. This led to an Echocardiogram, which led to a TEE which led to open-heart surgery in march to correct a large ASD (atrial septal defect) and the a-fib (maze procedure.)
Four weeks after the surgery, life was starting to get good again, when my heart beat sped up without reason. Back to the hospital to discover I now had atrial flutter! Ablation procedure to stop the flutter. Everything was supposed to be fine after that.
This all occurred in Philadelphia. We moved to Sweden with our job (decided before discovering the problems.)
Everything was fine until two weeks ago when I almost fainted about 20 times. Off to the hospital to discover I now have total heart block. Pacemaker was implanted last Wednesday.
Today I felt dizzy a few times and the initial feelings of what I had when I almost fainted two weeks ago. The 'episodes' lasted much shorter than two weeks ago - but a scary reminder.
Am I to expect this? Will I get dizzy at times? Should I be worried? I'm going in for a PM checkup in three weeks - should I move it up?
Any advice or experience with PMs is much appreciated.

Thanks!


3 Comments

Dizziness

by Jocko7745 - 2007-08-09 02:08:56

BobDecker76,

I got my pacemaker one week ago today. I have experienced the same very short bouts of dizziness. They are scary, but the doctors and nurses assure me it is not related to the PM. I am not sure whether that is a comfort or not. It was suggested that I need to increase my activity level as I have spent much of the last week lying down and resting. Never hesitate to give your PM clinic a call with questions or concerns. I wish you the very best in your recovery.

Jack

symptoms post PM

by CathrynB - 2007-08-09 03:08:33

Hey Bob (and Jack): Welcome to Pacemaker Club! My diagnosis is not the same as yours, but I continued to have infrequent, and mostly mild, symptoms for up to 3 months after getting my first PM in January 07. I had 3-4 appointments with my cardiologist for interrogations and adjustments to my PM settings, and each time the adjustments seemd to make my symptoms better. I have had no cardiac symptoms at all since April. Many of us come out of the operating room with "manufacturers settings" on the various features of our PM, and they may or may not be the right ones for us. You should describe your symptoms in person when you're at the doctor's office and see if they can make adjustments that will help. This can include things like raising or lowering the bottom and top beats per minute; turning on or off the rate response mode; adjusting the timing before the PM kicks in to generate a beat; turning on something called the rate drop mode; all kinds of things, some of which I don't fully understand because my PM doesn't use them, but I've read about them on PM club repeatedly. If you're experiencing severe symptoms you should not wait 3 weeks for your next appointment but request an earlier one.
Having said all that, I think it's also the case that the adjustment to having this new, foreign object in our bodies is much tougher than our doctors would have us expect, and I really believe our body gets used to things over the first few months and we start feeling better without regard for PM settings. You've been through some really tough stuff, you're still healing, and you need lots of rest. When in doubt, call your doctor's office to ask (and ask here as there are zillions of caring, knowledgeable people ready to make suggestions). Best wishes for a smooth and quick recovery, and keep us posted on how you're feeling. Take care, Cathryn

Thanks for feedback!

by bobbecker76 - 2007-08-10 06:08:09

Hey Cathryn and Jack,

Thanks for the feedback. It has been a tough year and it's really tough when every time you feel like you're just getting back on your feet, there's another setback. On top of all of that - moving, new job, new culture and language, etc.
The symptoms aren't severe but I definitely had some symptoms. Then, of course, I get nervous and panicky (my mental strength is finally giving in after 7-8 months) and that creates feelings of palpitations and butterflys, and then I wonder is that nervousness or my heart? So it's a tough time right now but I'm happy I found this website.
Finally, it's no fun to be going through all of this when this past january I thought I was a happy, healthy 30 year old about to move to Europe! Life is crazy sometimes, no?

Thanks again for the comments.
Bob

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