Back from my PM check

Just an update.....

Had my PM check today. I have approximately 1 1/2 years of life left. I thought for sure my battery was almost dead because I am having more symptoms. Not too bad, but I wish it would have lasted a little longer. Everything went well, except I had approx. 635,000 PAC's and 1.2 million PVC's, but it has been over a period of about 9-10 months. I thought this thing was suppose to help eliminate those, because they DRIVE ME NUTS! Oh well, I see my EP doctor in July and she made a note to him about it. We'll see though. All is well overall!

Jenny :)


PM Checkup & Numbers

by SMITTY - 2007-06-21 09:06:32

Hi Jenny,

Glad to hear “all is well overall” from the PM checkup. Now you get to start worrying about getting a new pacemaker and battery sometimes within the next two to three years.

You may already have this information, but if you don’t you may be wondering:

What happens when the battery runs out?

Pacemaker batteries are designed to become depleted in a slow and predictable fashion. When followed over the telephone or through office visits, the steady decline in energy can be followed. When the battery is low but still has significant power left, the pacemaker will still work just fine, but give indications (peculiar to each manufacturer and model) that the time for replacement is nearing. When the ERI (elective replacement interval) is reached, plans can be made for changing the battery at a date convenient for the patient and the surgeon.
Even beyond the ERI, pacemakers continue to pace for a long time, and do not simply stop emitting electrical energy suddenly or unexpectedly.

When it's time for a new pulse generator, it is generally simply exchanged for a new one. This will require surgery to remove the old device. The leads will be unscrewed and removed from the old generator, and then tested to make sure they are still working well. If not, new leads are placed. Most of the time however, they are still found to be working well and are simply attached to the new generator and placed back in the pocket, which is closed as it was before.
The new generator is almost always much smaller than the one it replaced due to advances in the design and manufacture of pacemakers.

I see you are asking the same question I have often wondered about. That is why doesn’t my PM stop PAC, PVC or skip beats. On my first visit to the electrophysiologist one of the things he emphasized was that the PM would not prevent these. I have been having my share of problems from an irregular heart beat for about three months and during a visit with my cardiologists 6-18-07, he said that my PM can stop some of those under certain conditions but it will never stop them all. I didn’t even bother telling him what the EP had told me, as I have to admit my thought was “what the hell, more proof they don’t know what a PM will or will not do most of the time.”

Now about the astronomical number of PAC and PVC you were told you have experienced in the last nine to 10 months. Those are big numbers all right but if you put them in the proper perspective believe it or not they are not very big. For the sake of our calculations, we will just use the period or nine months or 275 days. Also, we will assume a minimum heart rate of 60 BPM. That says your heart should beat 27,760,000 tines in 275 days. So if you have 635,000 PAC during those 275 days that says you had 2.7 PAC or 5 PVC each minute. If those are as evenly spaced as they are in this calculation, you would probably hardly notice them. But if they come in bunches, or as I tell my wife, they are stacked and they can be anything from just attention getters to downright painful and nerve racking.

In my case I am trying some different arrhythmia medications. I’ve been on these about six weeks and some days I think they are helping and the next day I’m not sure.

Back to the big number they threw at you, I have heard of this being done to others and I have always thought it is a big disservice to the patient. That is unless they also tell the patient that at 60 BPM the heart will beat 86,400 times a day or 31,104,000 times a year. Then if the person lives to be my age, their heart will have beat about 2.5 billion times. Whew, that makes me tired just thinking about it so I better stop. But, actually, the numbers they threw at you are not astronomical at all.

I wish you the best on the irregular heart beats. I know what a nuisance that can be.



by sweetkozy - 2007-06-21 10:06:37

Thank you for all the useful information! I really appreciate it. It sure helps to know how and what takes place when the battery slowly depletes itself. VERY useful info.

Thanks for your statistics too. She wasn't going to tell me how many, but I asked because I knew there had to be quite a few. I find it very interesting to know, and understand the ratio of PAC's and PVC's to heart beats is low. :) It's just amazing all the different or shall I say 'weird' things your heart can do. The nurse also was hesitant to tell me about my tachycardia episodes. Not sure she even realized that they are normal for me. I'm the patient and I like to know these things just for my own curiosity. It interests me. I think I should go back to school and become an Electrophysiologist....what do you thing? :)

It's funny how I never knew the PM wouldn't help those irregularities in my heart as much as I thought it would. I also never considered medication for those irregularities either....I am a terrible pill taker (time wise). lol For now I will just live with it and go about my business with the constant nuisance.

Thank You!


by luckyloo - 2007-06-21 11:06:29

dear jenny,

have you tried beta blockers?

my EP also put me on 400mg of magnesium...slow mag...a day. it does help smooth out heart arrythmia. fish oil taken every day helps lessen PVCs too.

are your electrolytes ok? when my potassium dips low it increases my PVCs...i get trigeminy and bigeminy. i drink my quick acting potassium, klor con EF and take more of my time release potassium, micro-k, and they ease up.

ventricular arrythmias can be a symptom of other conditions. i have andersen-tawil syndrome.

take care,

You know you're wired when...

You can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.

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