Hello all

I just got my pacemaker put in two weeks ago. I found

this site by total accident. I was diagnosed the end of July with an AV block type 2 and received a stent due to a vessel that was 90% blocked. Not long after that I developed the dangerously slow heart rate, and lost consensus twice. No problems eep since, all working well thanks to the new pacemaker. My question is this, I have been working out for many years now, and realize there will be many changes. I keep seeing conflicting information on exercise. Can someone help. Thank you


Go easy at first

by crustyg - 2019-10-08 16:55:51

With a sensible approach to building up to your previous levels of activity and exercises there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to get back to something similar again.

You will probably need to be careful at first depending on how well your stent is working, it's likely that you will need your PM box adjusted ('tuned') for you and your preferred activities and you will need to avoid lifting your elbow above your shoulder on the implant side for a while (opinions vary wildly about exactly how long), and you will find some stiffness and soreness around the skin incision and pocket for a while.  Keep that incision clean and dry until it's really well healed.  Swimming seems to be a forbidden activity for the longest.

I expect you'll be encouraged to be active, consider some Cardiac Rehab classes and get back to enjoying life.

The reason why advice/opinions vary so much about exercise is that there are different routes to needing a PM.  For some it's the traditional ischaemic heart disease (clogged arteries), for some it's congenital or acquired AV conduction issues, for others it's repeated rhythm disorders followed by ablation and perhaps sick-sinus syndrome.  For others its the cardiomyopathies - inherited or secondary.  How much work your heart can do depends on what brought you here.

And how old your heart is!


by Kettlebell man - 2019-10-08 17:16:46

Thank you very much for the comments and advice. By the way, the heart will be 63 next month...,

It depends, as always

by AgentX86 - 2019-10-08 22:06:59

If you were in shape before your surgery, you should be able to jump back into your routine fairly quickly.  Don't push it too much at first and listen to your body as you crank it up.  Your cardiologist and EP would know if there is any reason you shouldn't get back into your routine but from what little you've said, there shouldn't be anything in your way.

Be very careful of dehydration, though. Drink lots of water and forget "sports drinks".  It's highly unlikely that you need more sugar and salt (potassium and magnesium deficiency is far more likely but there's "none" of that in "sports drinks").

Initial setting

by Kettlebell man - 2019-10-09 00:36:37

Thank you all so much for your comments. I do have another question. Because of my fitness level prior to all this happening, my normal resting heart rate was in the 50’s most of the time. When they put the PM in, the initial setting for first 90 days is set at 60/130 to build up scar tissue where wires are attached to heart muscle. Anyone else have same initial setting??

Initial setting

by crustyg - 2019-10-09 03:11:35

Seems pretty common: 50/130 is also common for sick sinus patients (who may have been trundling along at 35-40bpm before the PM).  As a guess 130 won't be enough for everything that you wish to do.

Once the leads are reasonably well implanted you start the negotiation process to get the max HR revised upwards. I'm at 50/160 now, and I know of other paced athletes who are the same.


by dwelch - 2019-10-13 23:52:23

I was a very active teen when I was diagnosed.  got my first pacer at 19 and 32 years later am on number five.  not very active now, but at the time the pacer didnt affect met at all despite the limits.  My resting was in the 40s and sleep rate in the 30s.  Doc started my low end at 50, dont remember the upper.  Certainly for me and perhaps for you, also understand that the pacer fixes the block, making the heart work better, more efficient.  with a heart block the heart does not work well at all, so being athletic with an inefficient heart, do you need the same rate you were used to before?

Work with your EP about settings.  There is a period of time weeks/months where you recover from the surgery.  After or as part of that you can start to become more active again, and although we dont know what activities you want to do you should be able to do them just like before.  Contact sports that would hit the device often like hockey you need to protect it on some way.  Backpacking with heavy packs may put uncomfortable pressure on the device, not sure of padding will do there or not, not read much here about folks dealing with that.  Running, golfing, tennis, soccer, biking, gym,  etc the usual sports/activities no problem with a pacer.  

I have no experience with a stent to know what if any limits there are

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I am 100% pacemaker dependant and have been all my life. I try not to think about how a little metal box keeps me alive - it would drive me crazy. So I lead a very active life.