Pacemaker causing A-fib

Has anyone heard of their pacemaker causing Atrial Fib? Seems like everytime i bounce up and down or ride in a vehicle and go over some bumps...I go into atrial fib.. causing alot of symptoms! Its almost becoming a daily event. Also been having alot of pain in carotid artery in neck and it goes up in my head on left side behind ear! Im really scared its been going on now about 2 months now and getting worse and more frequent! If anyone can shine some light on this i would greatly appriciate it! Thank you


Pacemaker Causing A-fib?

by SMITTY - 2007-10-04 07:10:05

Hello April,

To be totally honest, if someone told me that their pacemaker was causing their alarm clock to go off every night at midnight I would never say that is impossible. But, I have never heard of a pacemaker causing A-fib. I have heard of a pacemaker being implanted to protect from the after effects of A-fib. Seems that when some people are getting over an A-fib episode severe bradycardia can become a problem. The result is a heart rate that can become dangerously low and a pacemaker eliminates that problem.

As for the bumpy ride causing your A-fib, I can see that as a possibility, but probably not for the same reason as you. If your pacemaker has a sensing mechanism and it is turned on it could be interpreting the bumps as an increase in your physical activity resultingin the PM trying to get your heart to beat faster. By so doing it causes things to get out of sync and it feels like A-Fib to you.

Regardless of what is causing this discomfort and concern, it is something that you need to talk to your doctor about. Also, the neck and head pain just increases the need for you to see a doctor.

Since we are talking about A-Fib, I am going to include the following article on this subject. If you have seen this before or are fully versed on the subject of A-Fib I apologize for sending something you do not need.

Good luck,


By Robert Canby, M.D.
Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) is the most common heart- rhythm disorder. It affects 2.2 million Americans and more than 150,000 new cases are diagnosed annually.

With this condition, the electrical conduction of the atria, or upper chambers of the heart, are affected and the heart either beats very rapidly or quivers without a coordinated pattern. As a result, the normal pumping of oxygenated blood throughout the body can be affected.

Though A-Fib can occur at any age, it is most common in individuals over the age of 65. Approximately 5 percent of individuals over age 65 have the condition, and almost 10 percent of individuals over age 80 are affected.

A-Fib may arise without a known cause. Several conditions are associated with the development of A-Fib. These include coronary artery disease, hypertension, thyroid disease, disorders of the cardiac valves and lung disease.

A-Fib can occur suddenly and end spontaneously, or it may be persistent and continue indefinitely. A-Fib may cause symptoms, including palpitations (awareness of the heart beating abnormally), chronic fatigue, exercise intolerance, malaise and shortness of breath.

Individuals with A-Fib have a five-times greater risk of developing a stroke. This is due to fact that with A-Fib, the blood does not flow through the upper chambers of the heart as "briskly" as normal. The sluggish blood flow may allow clots to form within the heart. The American Heart Association estimates that approximately 105,000 strokes occur annually in individuals with A-Fib. This is a leading cause of a stroke, approximately 15 percent of the total cases. An electrocardiogram (ECG) can confirm the diagnosis of A-Fib. Physicians can also generally detect A-Fib by listening to the heart, as the irregular and rapid heart beat can be heard. If the patient has intermittent A-Fib, a portable electrocardiogram can be worn to identify episodes of A-Fib.

A-Fib can be treated by a specialized cardiologist, called an electrophysiologist, who treats electrical disorders of the heart. In addition to medications which may help regulate the heart’s rhythm, there is a special procedure, called cardiac catheter ablation, which has the potential to restore the normal electrical conduction of the heart. This is a minimally invasive procedure in which a catheter is guided through the blood vessels to the heart. When inside the heart, electrodes determine the precise area causing the abnormal rhythm. The electrophysiologist can then destroy the abnormal tissue with radio waves or intense cold.

Dr. Robert Canby is the Medical Director of the Electrophysiology Lab at St. David’s Medical Center and practices with Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia, a division of Texas Cardiovascular, P.A.


by tcrabtree85 - 2007-10-05 05:10:00

I wish I could have gotten on sooner. I just got back from Mayo this past week. It depends on what is the matter with your heart to cause you to have A-Fib. I had my SA Node almost completely taken out. They told me because it was my SA Node my risks are a lot higher of getting A-Fib he pretty much told me it will be common and then I will just need to go in to get it adjusted.
They should be able to do some adjusting for you to make you feel better. I would recommend a pm check as Susan had said. I wish you luck!

bumpy road

by Susan - 2007-10-05 11:10:25

To add to what has been said, you may need to have your pacemaker fine tuned to get rid of the increase in heart rate when going down a bumpy road. That sounds like a sensitivity issue that probably can be corrected by the pacemaker technician.

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