shortness of breath

i just discovered this site and i have a question for the members. i had a valve replacement in june of 2015. it was planned and we had been watching the valve for years. i had no blockages or other heart problems. 10 days after replacement i collapsed in my kitchen and had to be airlifted to Lubbock. i woke up 2 days later. the docs never could decide what happened. i just went into vfib. to be safe, they decided to give me a pacemaker/ defib device. it has never had to do anything , it is there just in case. my question is why have i gained so much weight and why am i so short of breath all the time. any exertion, such as carrying out the trash, leaves me gasping. i have asked both my cardiologist as well as the electro and they have different answers. the electro doc says my device is perfect. my cardiologist had me try to do a treadmill stress test and i was unable to go more than a few minutes. my heart rate got to 120 and i felt i was dying. i threw up and it took 20 minutes to recover. he says i am just out of shape and need to recondition. i have been a basketball coach for 30 years and am well versed in conditioning athletes. i have always been an athlete and in touch with my body. this weght gain and breathing problem is not just being out of shape.  when i try to push myself in a workout, such as the stress test, it feels like my heart cant beat that fast. like it is beibg held down. the doc says he does not think that is the case....  then i start reading on here about doctors not understanding exactly what these devices are doing.. i am really beginning to think that my shortness of breath and lack of stamina is caused by this device.. any suggestions, advice or experiences that might help me would be appreciated


Chronotropic incompetence

by ar_vin - 2019-05-03 02:44:44

For whatever reason your exercise capacity has declined. It's also likely that your heart rate is very low and the pacemaker is not pacing you adequately for the exertion level.

I had a similar situation after I was diagnosed with sinus bradycardia due a sick sinus node. I went from being able to work out intensely to being breathless and feeling like crap. The situation did not improve significantly even after I had a dual chamber pacemaker implanted.

Recently I had the settings on the PM (mine is a Medtronic) changed based input from a very kind member of this forum and my own reading & research. After the settings were changed I've experienced a quantum improvement in exercise capacity!

Based on my experience (and that of many others on this forum) I urge you to push hard on your EP and his PM tech to adjust the settings on your PM. I'd also take your cardiologist's suggestion and enroll in a conditioning program as that might help you get back in shape.

I'd also suggest tracking your heart rate for the entire day especially during exercise and understand what's going on.

Good luck and please keep us posted on your progress. At your age you ought to be able to make rapid progress once you find the right settings.




by tonnyken - 2019-05-03 05:46:24

Thanks for sharing the information it was very helpful for me

cardiac rehab

by Tracey_E - 2019-05-03 09:07:13

Ask about cardiac rehab, where you exercise with medical supervision. It's good for keeping you safe while building up confidence. If something is going on, they can catch it. 

The device can't hold you back. It's a gas pedal, not a brake. If the heart speeds up on its own, it will only watch. It can't prevent the heart from going faster. It's possible you need pacing now where you didn't before, that your rate isnt going up like it should. 

The device working perfectly means just that- it's there in case you have a dangerous episode again and it will do that. That doesn't mean the settings are optimum and it's doing what you need it to do.  

Have you had an echo or holter lately? That's where I'd want to start, then ask about cardiac rehab. 

Shortness of breath

by IPGENG12 - 2019-05-09 20:01:18

Based on your description, I would definitely agree with the other respondents that you need to push on your EP and Cardiologist to get a better picture of the weight gain and breathlessness.  I experienced something similar during the course of my arrhythmia treatments.  It wasn't until I got a followup echo-cardiogram that we discovered my left ventricular ejection fraction had dropped to 30% and that I was heading into heart failure.  I ended up getting my pacing system re-adjusted and a lead revision (Left ventricular lead replaced and turned on).  I'm now back at near normal ejection fraction and have started cycling again.  Best of luck!

You know you're wired when...

You invested in the Energizer battery company.

Member Quotes

I am very lucky to have my device.