i meant in the event of failure of the pacemaker do you have time to go to a hospital. i believe i understood in the past you do jessie



by SMITTY - 2007-04-11 11:04:08

Hey Jessie,

I don’t think there is an absolute yes or no answer to your question.

A pacemaker can stop working suddenly due to a defective part in the circuitry and the person would have to get help without benefit of any kind from the PM. But the probability of that happening is extremely low.

If I recall correctly and understood what I heard, if a PM does completely quit, the heart has a secondary internal pacemaker that can keep a person alive for some amount of time. Again, if I recall correctly, in this event the time a person has to get help is a number of hours. In fact the person would slowly rundown like a spring driven device that needed to be wound and could even become unconscious, but still alive.

If the PM is “dying” because of low batteries, this does take some amount of time and the person would have time to get help before the PM dies. The effects from a battery that is playing out would be very much like that described above. Only the person would be more aware that something was amiss because depleting batteries would take several days and the person would most likely become increasingly tired.

Now, please don’t be offended because I’m not being sarcastic when I say this. But I think those of us that have PMs are in much more imminent danger from many other hazards we may face daily than having our PM quit and leave us on a hill high and dry.


no pat answer

by jessie - 2007-04-12 03:04:14

no i realize that there is no pat answer and if mine was on a defective list i would certainly not be calm. my friend dominique talks about recently finding out here is on a defective list. these companies need to be responsible for putting out a device that won't fail. this is serious business. i am sure that if you had braddychardia pulse of 28 your heart would kick in again and there would be enough time to call an ambulance but not much more maybe. you would feel faint and weak like before. i did. jessie

Fear of Flawed Pacer is Real

by ted - 2007-04-12 03:04:36

I most always pay attention to Smitty's comments and technical expertise. But as he says, there is no pat answer to the question of what happens when a pacer dies. I happen to have a "recalled" Guidant. My doctor friends tell me that if it quits, I could die, or faint while driving on a highway killing someone, or I might just feel faint and week. The doctors really don't know. The anxiety produced by knowing that you have a possibly defective unit is very real. That's why the United States District Court in Minnesota, where the Guidant lawsuits are assigned has established a group of "anxiety only" cases, several of which will go to trial to test the waters as to what juries will do. Other classes are those with complications and those who had to have their units explanted. Personally, knowing that mine could stop at any moment has played havoc with my tranquility. I spend more time watching my pulse than where I am going. I suspect that many more folks have died from defective pacers than we know of. Older folks who pass on may just be burried without anyone suspecting that it was the pacer that caused it.

I have a recalled P.M

by Vicens - 2007-04-12 06:04:52

Hi: Mine is a "recalled" Guidant.I mean that it was in a list of PM batch that "could" have not started at the moment of the implant, but that if it did start, then it was supposed to be all right. Anyway, my doctor assured me that, as I'm not PM dependent, in case of failure, I'd be left with my own heartbeat of about 40. Luckily, with this low heatbeat, I never fainted before my implant. All the best.


by lenora - 2007-04-12 12:04:23

I think the basic answer is that if you are not pacemaker dependent you probably would be able to get help if the pacemaker suddenly stopped working. A demand pacemaker merely assists you when it's needed. If you are pacemaker dependent it's not that simple. If you have AV node ablation which puts you into third degree (complete) heart block, or if you have a pacemaker because you are already in third degree block, you usually have an escape rhythm of 30 to 40 on your own. Some experts apparently believe that a person with a heart rate of 30 to 40 would still have the presence of mind to summon help if needed. I don't necessarily agree with that. About the dying battery issue, as you know I recently went through that myself. My pacemaker went into battery-saving mode on March 8, and because I am dependent, I had to pretty much go into hibernation until it was replaced on March 27. I did have some warning that something was about to happen and that my pacemaker was handling the situation as it was supposed to. I can't imagine how stressful it must be for Ted and Dominique and others who must live every day not having that assurance. Lenora

i know what you mean

by jessie - 2007-04-12 12:04:33

i wrote this because of the concern for anyone with a medtronic on recall. i am aware of other things that can happen to people with pacemakers like me and yourself. it must be a bit more scary to know your pacemaker is on recall than not smitty jessie

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