Still short of breath

I have chronic a-fib/flutter. I have had an A/V node ablation and permanent pacemaker implanted in 1998. Since then, I have had to have it replaced in January 2003. Everything was going fine, until this past summer. I became short of breath, and it was getting worse and worse. I was hospitalized in Jan 2008, with dx of exacerbation of asthma. I was put on massive doses of prednisone, abx, and neb treatments. I did get better (was around cats, which I have a known allergy to.). But after 6 weeks of not being able to breath any better, I have been thru the gammit of testing to try and find out if it is my "heart" or my "lungs" that is causing the shortness of breath on excertion. I have had my pm interrogated 12/24/07, and an echo and adenosine cardiac stress test were done. Results were negative. They didn't change anyting on my pacemaker, but told me that I am in fib all the time. After I was released from the hospital, and my shortness of breath continued, my pulmonologist ordered a pft, which showed a mild change in my asthma from last years study. My peak flows were 370 to 400, and I was still short of breath, which had my pulmonigist scratching her head. She said my lungs were good, and could not understand why I still was so short of breath. So, my cardiologist suggested I have a cardiac cath to see if my heart is the culprit of the shortness of breath (dyspnea). The cardiac cath was done on Valentines Day, 2008, with the results all negaitve. Then I wore a halter monitor for 24 hours, two different times, with nothing showing up. I insisted on having my pacemaker rechecked again, and this time the EP Doc did it. He found that the PMT switch had been turned off. So he turned it back on. (Pacemaker Mod. Tachycardia). But that is all he could find. Within 2 days I felt like I could breath better, but not normal by any means.

Today, I had a pulmonary/cardio stress test, and the pulmologist said it was my pacemaker, because thru all the time I spent riding the bicycle my heart rate stayed a consistant 70 beats, with 1 pvc. I was so short of breath I wondered if I would ever recover.

My point is this- When my first pacemaker's battery began getting really low on battery power, it was programmed to shut off the peripherals--I was short of breath, and the pacemaker was replaced in a matter of days. Now, my pacemaker battery life is good for 2 and 1/2 years, I am terribly short of breath, and I seriously wonder if the pacemaker itself is defective? My heart rate should increase with excercise, and mine stays a steady 70. Anyone go thru something similar? I need some answers as I have not been able to work for nearly 2 months.


I have some of the same problems

by NH - 2008-02-28 07:02:23

I have some of the same problems, but I am not short of breath unless I get to walking too fast. I also have an asthma history.

I don't have a lot of knowledge on this, but it helped to see that someone else had my almost same symptoms. This is not from a DR, but just my personal things. I also have sinus problems and allergy. Especially around pollen and dust. I take Coricidean HBP cough & congestion pills when I start having symptoms. It seems to work for me. You must get the HBP ones, because they are for people with high blood pressure and heart stuff. If my breathing gets really bad I have an Albuterol inhaler (perscription) to use.

This is just what I do and maybe it would be a suggestion. Just take as a suggestion, and keep doing as your DR instructs.

Take care,

Rate response switch

by drb104 - 2008-02-28 11:02:34

I had a problem with the rate not moving off 70. When I had the pm checked the rate response switch was turned off! If yours hasn't been checked I suggest you ask about this specifically. Good Luck.

Your PM and SOB

by maryanne - 2008-04-26 02:04:34

I read your response to the individual about their dificulties with their St. Jude PM, and I just wanted to make a comment.....

It is possible there is something wrong with the setting....but that can be adjusted....our PM's are like little computers they record a variety of information as you your case it sounds to me that your PM may need ajusting it's not that is is malfunctioning it is just set wrong for you...and that is an easy thing to change....I have my pacemaker settings checked every 6 months...and I often need a little "tweaking" for lack of better word...I am very active...I have gone from setting of AAVI to DDRI with changing my low and high end HR rates and ms changes for the SA to the AV there are many variable to be considered before one can say the pacemaker is's the way the pacemaker is set that may not be working for you......I hope things work out....cheers

You know you're wired when...

You read consumer reports before upgrading to a new model.

Member Quotes

I swim, scuba, garden, hike, climb, workout, play with the kids, play tennis, baseball, basket ball and rollerblade with mine with no problem.