Pacemaker Rate


I have a question that I don't know if anyone can answer. If your pacemaker rate is set at 60 and when you take your blood pressure your heart rate is almost always 60 (very seldom ever higher), does it mean that you are being paced all the time to be at the 60 rate or that your heart is beating on its own at 60?



PM Rate

by SMITTY - 2008-12-05 10:12:05

Hi Judy,

I'll add a little to what has already been said. And it will be a little because all I know about pacemakers has been pretty well covered. But if you are finding your heart rate at 60 and the low setting is 60 I would guess that means the pacemaker is keeping it at the minimum rate of 60. So while your pacemaker may be working 100% of the time, that does not necessarily mean you are pacemaker dependant. It simply means that your heart rate would be something below 60 if you did not have the PM. Your doctor, or the people that do the checkups can tell you what that number can be. They can also tell you how serious, if any, trouble you would be in if you didn't have the PM.

As an example of what I'm talking about is the settings on my PM are low 70 and high 120. Usually when I check my HR I'll find a rate of 70 BPM. However the Dr. tells me that my HR would be in the mid to upper 40s if I didn't have the PM. That means my PM is, for all practical purposes, working 100% of the time, but I wouldn't die if it were to quit working right now. I wouldn't feel to spunky, but I would continue to live.

If I could offer any advice, it would be that when you are checking your BP and see a HR of 60, think nothing of it as it only means your PM is on the job.

Good luck,



by Angelie - 2008-12-05 11:12:25

Let's see,
I'm assuming that you mean when you take your blood pressure that it's taking a pulse reading as well?
That's the only thing that makes sense to me because blood pressure readings are different than pulse readings.
Alright then, considering that we're now talking about the same thing, your pacemaker is set at 60. That means that the pacemaker will kick in for you if your natural heart rhythm falls below 60. Your heart very well might be pumping naturally at 60 beats per minute, and the pacemaker just kicks in every few natural beats to keep your rate at or around 60 beats per minute. It's natural for your heart rate to fluctuate. Don't be surprised if your heart rate is even 70 on occasion. Your lower set limit is set at 60 so your pacemaker will just kick in if your heart rate falls below 60- and that's the only time. (That is considering you're not 100% pacer dependent- then that's another story)
I hope I helped you, and not confused you further.

variable rate

by Tracey_E - 2008-12-05 12:12:29

Older pacemakers had a single setting but to the best of my knowledge they are all variable rate now, which means they go up and down as you need them rather than keep your hr at a steady number. A minimum rate of 60 means it will now allow your hr to fall below 60bpm, if it drops to 30 or 40, the pm will step in with extra beats to bring it up again. If your resting rate before surgery was below that, it makes sense that your resting rate now would be 60. It should go up with exertion, however, it's not set so that it is always 60.

Give it the test

by ElectricFrank - 2008-12-06 01:12:59

The best way to check this out is to do something active like brisk walking for a few minutes. Then immediately check your HR. That should drive your HR up at least into the high 70's and more likely 80's. If it stays at 60 then your natural pacemaker isn't increasing your HR and the pacemaker should take over and do it. The function is called Rate Response and is where the pacemaker senses your body movements and decides what your HR should be. Your body needs the higher rate when active to supply the extra blood needed to give oxygen to the organs. If you aren't getting an increase with activity talk to the doc about it.


Great information so far

by Suze - 2008-12-06 10:12:10

Everyone explained things perfectly in their replies to your questions. The difference between being 100% paced and pacemaker dependent is confusing for a lot of people.
I'm paced 99%-100%, but my natural bpm is 35-45 when they turn off my PM (for a few seconds) during interogations. They always ask if I want to have them check that because it is a very strange feeling. But they assure me that I'm not dependent on the PM and could live that way. Obviously, I lived with a slow heartrate before the implant. But it wasn't a full life, that's for sure.

Anyway, hope all this helps.


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