Hi -- since I've had my pacemaker (3-1/2 years) I have had many weird experiences that I wonder if it has something to do with the pacemaker. It is the same sort of "feeling" that I get when I have the pacemaker check and a magnet is placed over my heart -- only it is much stronger than that. My chest will feel very heavy and I get the same type of feeling, but it lasts much longer and then I get a tightness in my throat and it makes me hoarse for a day or two. I get it when I'm in the car near some intersections -- and also got it trying to visit someone in the ICU at a local hospital -- or around big speakers or large fans. It feels like a huge magnet is affecting me. When I asked the cardiologist or the people who check my pacer, they all tell me it has nothing to do with the pacemaker and that it works fine. Well, I never had that feeling before I got the pacemaker -- it is very unpleasant and I feel like I had an elephant sitting on my chest for awhile afterwards.
It is so weird and I feel bad because I feel like the doctor, etc. just think I'm a nut case. This happens to me quite often and it is so annoying -- sometimes it will happen 2 or 3 times in a day and then I'll be horse for several days. I talked to a Medtronic tec and she told me I wouldn't get that feeling from the pacemaker. That doesn't make sense, because I get it when I do the monthly check, only it's much, much milder.
Does anyone out there ever have that happen to them? I'd appreciate knowing if I'm the only weird one in the lot! Thanks, ginnie


Strange Feelings during checkups

by ElectricFrank - 2007-11-08 02:11:39

The feelings during checkups are real. Several of the tests temporarily reprogram the pacemaker to a much higher or lower heart rate than normal to check if there is capture which means the heart follows the pacer. Then the pacing voltage is slowly reduced until pacing fails, then increased until it resumes. It is called Capture Threshold. During these tests you may be subjected to times of very slow or very fast HR. If you are totally dependent your heart may actually miss a number of beats giving that feeling of impending passing out.
This is all necessary and safe, but if you don't know and expect it it can be unnerving, and result in other anxiety symptoms.
A similar thing can happen around strong magnets with some pacemakers. These pacers respond to a magnetic field by going into "safe" mode which results in a sudden change in HR.

I Understand

by ginnie - 2007-11-08 11:11:04

Hi -- thanks for your comments. Yes, it does help just to know I'm not the only one experiencing this. The people at the heart clinic here have just NOT listened to me when I've told them. I was even in their "study" for 2-1/2 years and told them EVERY time. I never passed out, but really felt sick when it happened. Anyway -- I haven't gotten anywhere with the doctor here and they were supposed to set me up with a rep, but it's been a few days and I haven't even heard from them. Well, anyway -- thanks and I'll keep you posted. If you hear anything more or have any more symptoms, please let me know, too -- and yes I do stay away from large speakers, too. Does this make sense? Ha! Ginnie


by NH - 2007-11-08 11:11:06


I don't feel things to the extent you do, but I have had my pacemaker for 5 1/2 years and have noticed some things. Going thru the security checkpoints at Walmart and stores will sort of make me feel funny in my chest. Also, we have an old microwave and it doesn't bother me to be in front, but I can't sit beside it when it is running.

When I have the pacemaker check with the magnet, I always have a headache afterwards.

I am grateful that I have the pacemaker and it really saved my life.

Take care,

i understand....

by brokenheart - 2007-11-08 12:11:01

Hi there...dont ever think that u are a nut case. I have had some problems with my pacemaker also. I have had my pacemaker for almost 2 years now and i also felt the heaviness in my chest. Whenever i get my pacemaker checked sometimes i feel a heaviness in my chest and then i feel dizzy and like im going to pass out. This also happens at times whenever im at home but it is milder. I used to pass out at times whenever i got this feeling. but now i am taking higher doses of beta blockers and i dont pass out but i still feel the heaviness in my chest. I had to leave church once because i think i was too close to the speakers there and i felt like i was going to pass out. I have learned over the past two years that you know your body better than any stupid doctor and if you know there is something wrong you should seek all the answers that you need. Also u are not supposed to be close to magnets because it can affect the way your pacemaker works. So if u ever feel weird around something then please just move away from it. Idont care what the doc or med rep says if u feel weird just stay away. The doc nor the rep probably have never had a pacemaker themselves so they dont know what it feels like. I hope this helps. take care and let me know what u find and how u are doing.

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I'm 43 and have had my pacemaker four weeks today. I'm looking forward to living another 50 years and this marvelous device inside me will help me do that.