So much information!

I'm redoing this because it didn't post and now I can't remember everything I said! Lori: My daughter's heart block was diagnosed in 1994 at her kindergarten physical when her pediatrician heard a murmur (I believe) and sent her to a cardiologist. I had hoped we would be able to "watch and wait" for several years, but her first pacer implant was in 1998. As you read in my "bio", it hasn't been smooth sailing since...
Smitty: You are apparently the resident guru. Would you (and anyone else) please read my "bio" when you have time and give me any/all comments you have about the various components of my daughter's situation?
Blake: Are you the man behind this wonderful forum? Great job!
Luckyloo: I can't seem to figure out how to email you for the link you told goodoscar about 6/16 to the really good Cleveland Clinic lead extraction site. Would you please email me with that? Would you, Lori, goodoscar, and all the others please let us know how your second opinions/lead extractions went/are going?
Should my college-bound daughter get a single-strap backback? (She's talking about one big enough to carry her laptop computer, too.) I don't remember anyone suggesting that. I'm new here (8/14) and so am trying to catch up and absorb all this welcome information. Any Nebraskans here yet? Thanks to all for your help. Really appreciate it! MJ


Thanks, Cathryn! Now what about low VO2Max reading?

by MJH - 2007-08-16 01:08:43

I can't seem to remember to ask all my questions at once--I have so (too?) many! K had abnormal VO2Max level at her stress test 6/29. The report I received gave us no recommendations for what to do about that. I called and asked for something written from the cardiologist to K's new internal medicine doctor (switched from a pediatrician at age 18 now) so he could talk to her about it at her July appointment. They basically just said to get good aerobic exercise. K never played any sports in school, and only one year of "club" volleyball, so she's not very active. Any one have any comments and ideas?

lucky girl

by CathrynB - 2007-08-16 01:08:51

What a lucky daughter to have such a caring, inquisitive, resourceful Mom helping her out -- way to go, Mom!!! I have a one-strap backpack and like it a lot. It works very well for short carries (such as on campus) or all-day hikes if I can carry a light load, 10 pounds or less. Because it distributes the load a bit unevenly, it can cause back or neck problems if the load is too heavy or is carried too long. Best wishes to your daughter with her college transition!! Take care and keep us posted how things go, Cathryn


by SMITTY - 2007-08-17 04:08:34

Hello MJ,

I wish I could answer your questions but giving viable answers for your daughter far exceeds my capability, although I will try to make a guess to two.

Let me start with the hard question. On the backpack if she can get one of double strap jobs that will not have a strap going directly across the site of the pacemaker implant that would be better as I gather when will have the thing loaded. However, I would not recommend any straps that could put pressure on the implant site. The pacemaker is a small piece of metal a few mm blow the surface and while pressure on is not going to hurt the PM; it could impact on the leads. Also, pressure on that site would probably cause irritation in a short time. So if a single strap backpack will work for her I would say that may be the best way to go.

As for the VO2, like the doctor said, to improve that more exercise will be required. I saw one article that suggested that to increase VO2 by 20% a person needed to run a minimum of 25 miles a week. I had to laugh at that because I doubt that I could run 25 miles in my remaining time on earth. I could not find any numbers on good or bad VO2 so I guess there are a number of considerations to determine what is best for a particular person, which means listen to the doctor.

I know of nothing that will change your daughter’s reluctance to have anyone know that she has a PM. Possibly she could be convinced to try making a joke out of having one. For example if someone asked about it her reply could be something like this,”that is my Timex. I kept losing it so the doctor implanted it and now all I have to do is touch the site and it will give me the time.” The more ridiculous the reply the less likely that person would ever be so insensitive and to ask about it again.

As for me being a guru I think I have answered that question already. I know no more about pacemakers than others posting comments here. If I have an advantage on anyone it is that I have free time on my hands and I’m very in pacemakers and the people that have them. If I see a question, I’ll spend more time trying to find an answer than it takes for me to pass my answer along. As for why I will do that, I will forever be indebted to this site. I’ve a PM for seven years. I had many problems and got the stonewall treatment from my doctors and the technicians. I had about decided it was all in my head, except I still knew I never had such pain before I got a PM. I accidentally came across this site and quickly learned I was not the only one with such problems and how other people found a solution. Armed with that information I started anew. Got me a new doctor who did not try stonewalling and I got my problem solved. I guess I could say anytime I try to help anyone here all I’m doing is trying to repay a debit.

I wish I could offer more help for your daughter, but as I said earlier I’m I have no answers. I wish her the very best.


Meaning Of VO2 Level

by SMITTY - 2007-08-18 01:08:10

Hi MJ,

Below is a chart on optimum VO2 numbers for females in your daughter's age bracket. I can't comment further on these results as I do not know. Even this chart may be taken totally out of context.

As for you question about could a low VO2 reading cause something like congestive heart failure, I don't see how that could happen, but again I may not know what I'm talking about. But from my meager understanding of VO2, it is most likely to reduce exercise tolerance. While CHF can certainly reduce exercise tolerance, that is because CHF affects the amount of blood the heart can pump. If my reasoning is correct, VO2 is the amount of oxygen the blood picks up as it passes through the lungs. Since increased exercise will increase the lungs capacity for oxygenation our blood and at the same time increase heart function, I see it all as being interrelated,but I don't think a low VO2 reading would cause CHF.

Of course I have to qualify that as a low blood/oxygen level can cause heart problems, I woud be reluctant to jump on a low VO2 reading as resulting in CHF at a future date.

With that I'll shut up and wait for someone to tell us all if I'm even in the right ball park with my reasoning.


Age 13 - 19 VO2

Very Poor - <25.0

Poor - 25.0 - 30.9

Fair - 34.9 - 35.0

Good - 38.9 - 39.0

Excellent - 39 - 41.9

Superior >41.9

Smitty, you're GREAT!

by MJH - 2007-08-23 11:08:49

I was slow getting back to read your response. Thanks again! I've been busy getting pacer daughter ready to move into college housing here. Other daughter (21) moved back home into our basement that I spent days "shoveling out" to get ready for her. After 29 years in the same house and 3 kids since 1978, there was--still is--a lot to "shovel!" Last Sat. spent the morning at an open house at my son's work (mechanical engineer)(age 26), and the afternoon celebrating my Mom's 80th birthday. Life goes on.....and on and on.... Take care, Mary Jane

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