Marathon success

Had my pace maker fitted in June 2006. Loads of problems for the first 6 months, couldn't run more than a few meters without my heart rate dropping down to below 90bpm.

My cardioligist is brilliant and after lots of trial and error got me running. I finished this years London Marathon in 3hrs 38 mins.

Still having problems with heart rate dropping though if I try to run fast or up hills. My cardiologist is seeking advice but cannot find a solution.

Although I am very happy about having been able to run the marathon I dearly want to be able to race and compete again over shorter distances. Does anyone know a solution to this problem ?



by luckyloo - 2007-05-15 05:05:13

dear matt,

i used to be a runner. i haven't been the same since my device.

are you on beta blockers too? when i was on them and running, it was very difficlut to get my heart rate up because betas block adrenaline so your heart rate can't go up. other meds like blood pressure meds, rhythm meds will fight the natural rise of the heart beat.

if not on meds, maybe the pacer needs adjusting.

take care,


by mattday - 2007-05-15 05:05:31

No i am not on medication. I used to get a very high heart rate when I exercised. Had an ablation to solve this but it went wrong and caused heart block thus the pacemaker was needed.

The rate response has been turned off and my max set at 180bpm. Doctor is trying to find if there are any other adjustments possible.

When I run hard my heart rate goes up to 180 bpm then cuts down to between 130 - 145 bpm, I have to stop and recover then continue okay.

marathon success!

by CathrynB - 2007-05-15 09:05:30

Hey Matt, Congratulations on completing the marathon, and less than a year after PM implant -- wow! Was this your first? It's very impressive seeing you so dedicated to getting your old life back, and wonderful that you have a doc who so fully supports those efforts! I'm a runner, too, though I've never done a marathon -- only halfs and 10Ks and such. I also haven't had your current problem. I got my PM 4 months ago and am running 5 miles, 4-5 times a week, but don't have the rate drop you're experiencing. I haven't done the research, but I recall several postings in the last month or two about some feature of a PM called "rate drop response" or something like that. I seem to recall it kicks in any time your bpm drops suddenly from a higher rate to a lower rate. Do you know if your PM has this feature? Look through history here and try the Search feature to see if you can find what I'm talking about, or if someone else remembers, please post more on it. Good luck and keep us posted on resolution of your problem. Take care, Cathryn

Same problem rate drops

by Davie - 2007-06-06 10:06:22

Hi, I have a St Jude Affinity DC Model 5230 (DDD with no rate response). For 6 years I have had the problem you describe unable to run fast,uphill or against the wind.My heart rate drops suddenly from 180-185 to 60-80 beats. It also goes up very quickly.My cardiologist is also trying to solve the problem. I had another ablation in April this year but this has made no difference.Send me an e-mail ( and we could discuss this further. There are others on this site with similar problems. I still get a great deal of satisfaction running and cycling and have recently qualified as a level 2 Orienteering coach. I am still hopeful of a solution.
Best wishes, Dave

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