Severe Anxiety after PM insertio

Hi All,

I've just had a PM fitted 3 weeks ago and suddenly had severe anxiety attacks after I felt mild stabbing pains and palpitations. I think this maybe normal when my PM is kicking in but my anxiety is severely affecting my family, social and work life. Can anyone give me some advise to cope please? Has anyone felt this way? I'm trying Lorazepam, breathing exercises and meditation but i'm still having attacks. I'm trying to be mentally strong but I am scared of being mentally fatigued as the attacks are like waves that I am trying to ride out as calmly as I can. 


It's hard at first

by Theknotguy - 2019-12-02 15:21:25

With all the information that's been thrown at you plus the heart problems it's really hard to get your mind wrapped around the situation at first.  The info sheet my hospital gave me had ten items on the list.  Four were completely wrong and six were partially wrong.  So when I came out of the hospital I didn't know what to think.  And, I feel it made it harder for me to cope.  Items to do....

Check with your EP's office, see if they or the hospital have a group you can work with about your anxiety situation.  My medical insurance allowed me to work with a psychologist specializing in trauma and heart situations (Yes, there are people like that.).  See if there is a support group through your religious organization.  There should be someone out there with whom you can work.  

Remember, all of us on the forum have been through what you are going through now, so you aren't alone and your feelings are normal.  Oh, and there are a certain percentage of people who get anxiety/depression about heart issues so it's a normal response to your situation.  I think it was nine months before I got out of the car and walked across the parking lot without thinking about my pacemaker so it does take time.  Longer for some people than others.  

Hope you can get help soon.  

perfectly normal

by dwelch - 2019-12-02 16:00:20

The fears and anxiety are all perfectly normal.  I would say we all go through it but a recent post someone apparently didnt, good for them.  How long and how hard it affects you varies by person.   The pacer makes your life better, more normal if not normal.  Its a good thing overall.  I know that doesnt help.

As far as when it kicks in and stabbing pains, that is not normal first you dont feel the pacer working, second if you are having stabbing pains call the doc.  Now depends on where the pains are at three weeks the surgery site may still be sensitive and hurt.  It takes months to get over the surgery itself (some things days some weeks some months).

You are not alone here wiith your anxiety/fears.  You are not the first one.  As mentioned in an other post your doc has had patients deal with this before and can probably recommend options.

Dont be afraid to call the doctors office, you rarely get to actually talk to the doc unless you get an appt.  You are in the new pacer transition, once you get settled in in a year or two then you will know normal from not normal and know that whatever weirness you just had was no big deal or not.  Right now you are in a transition so they expect calls/visits.  You and the device are settling into each other and that takes weeks.  you should have another appointment any time now then one in a few months before going into the annual cycle.  wait for those or just call to come in early. 


by Graham M - 2019-12-02 17:56:59

Sorry you're feeling such awful anxiety, but you've just been through all the trauma of surgery and of coming to terms with having heart disease and needing a pacemaker.  I went through all that about 3 months ago after collapsing, being taken to hospital and having a pacemaker implanted, all within 24 hours. Anxiety is a perfectly normal reaction to this and, believe me, we all go through it and it does pass.  Some of us just feel it more than others.

In the UK, we are very good at trying to brush off anything unpleasant and just get on with life, but it's not always the best way forwards.  I was very lucky in that my boss also has heart disease and he insisted I take 4 weeks off.  This was very useful time to get my head together, learn as much as I could from the internet and Pacemaker Club and come to terms with my life.

I wouldn't worry too much about the sharp pains, many of us have had them - they are normal after surgery and it takes several months for full healing to take place.  On several occasions, I thought I was having palpitations after physical exertion, but when I took my pulse, it was 85 - 90bpm.  It just felt really fast because I wasn't used to it being that high.

If you can, it might be a good idea to see your GP and he/she will be able to give you whatever advice or treatment you need.  A couple of weeks off work and away from your usual routine will not do any harm and will probably do you a world of good.

A whole new lifestyle should now be opening up to you, but it will take a while to settle into it.  You will find that all your friends, family and colleagues will want to treat you with kid gloves, which is nice, but you have to look after yourself and recover at your own pace.

Best Wishes,


Anxiety is Very Correctable

by Swangirl - 2019-12-02 19:12:30

Your thinking causes your anxiety--100% of the time.  It's not like the weather and just takes you over and makes you crazy.  Lorazapam is a benzodiazipine and they are not good--very addictive and when your body quickly develops a tolerance you need more to get the same results.  CNN's Lisa Ling did a program on them and it was very accurate.  

Ok, you've been through a lot but the more you indulge your scary negative thinking the worse it's going to get.  There's no medicine which will do what you can do yourself.  It's called cognitive behavioral therapy and a therapist can help you or you can go online and learn it for free.  It's how you recognize the thought patterns and challenge them so they don't become habitual. It's not easy as it takes work especially in the beginning, but soon the anxiety lessens and eventually is only an occasional thing.  If you don't do this you may have anxiety that takes over your life and morphs into depression.  I'm a psychotherapist and have seen it.   

Wait a minute!

by Gotrhythm - 2019-12-04 14:13:33

Swangirl might be right, but it sounds to me like a consultation with an EP is in order. There are heart conditions that one of the symptoms is feelings of "anxiety."

You might not be feeling your pacemaker working at all. Some people do --but it's really unusual.  Far more often, people mistake arrythmias like PVDs, PACs etc for "feeling the pacemaker." There are other arrythmias as well, like tachycardia and A-fib. And people often mistake those at first for feeling really upset or anxious.

Stabbing pains, even mild ones, are not a normal part of being paced.

For me, the clue that something besides plain old anxiety is going on is your statement that you are able to "ride out the episodes." Just saying that shows a high degree of self awareness and an ability to distinguish what you feel from what you think. and from what is in fact happening.

You need to find out what is going on with your heart. It's possible that the pacemaker is working fine but your heart is not reacting as intended to being paced. The answer might be a simple adjustment of your setiings.

I have PMT, pacemaker mediated tachycardia.  A PMT episode in which my heart suddenly races and pounds feels remarkably like anxiety striking out of the blue. Indeed, before the PMT was diagnosed I had doctors listen to my symptoms and try to tell me I was having anxiety attacks.

I'm not a doctor. I'm not suggesting you have PMT--or offering any diagnosis for that matter. But I do think you need some real data about what the pacemaker is really doing, and what your heart is really doing when you "feel it working" and these "anxiety" episodes come on.

A cardiologist probably won't do. You need to be seen by an EP.

Don't go alone.

You know you're wired when...

You have a $50,000 chest.

Member Quotes

Your anxiety is normal. It takes some of us a little time to adjust to the new friend. As much as they love you, family and friends without a device just cannot understand the adjustment we go through. That is why this site is so valuable.