I am 57 and for a variety of reasons have put off the recommended colon screening since I was 50

i decided to man up and schedule one. They called today and were asking me routine questions was "so you have a pacemaker " - since I do they said I have to come in for a "consultation " ....the colin screening is preventative and free through my insurer ....this pre con is not .

thw scheduler said "it's just a co payment " ... I love how generous people are with other people's money ! 

I actually don't have a co payment I have a deductible ..... this is probably a $150 visit .

what is the potential issue with a PM and a colonoscopy????  



by Skeet - 2020-01-02 23:57:50

I have had a colonoscopy since I have had a pacemaker and the issue never even came up.  


ditto, above -

by donr - 2020-01-03 00:21:38

Had FOUR of them & no one even cared.  As long as they don't use an electro cauiterizer to remove a polyp it's absolutely no sweat!  Someone just wants more money!



by Pacer2019 - 2020-01-03 00:22:15

I haven't asked yet and haven't had a colonoscopy before but bouncing around the internet .... I assume when they do the test they are authorized to do surgery if they find anything like a polyp ..... possibly that is done with some type of electronic equipment ? 
nurse is supposed to call me to discuss .... I'm fine consulting but I'm not looking to pay for something unnecessary. 
the scheduler said "it's just your copayment".... I said oh can Yal just waive it then?  Of course then it was their money and they couldn't do without it 

It's a combination of factors

by crustyg - 2020-01-03 08:12:43

Hi: Modern colonoscopy kit uses small RF currents to provide a synthetic view of where the colonoscope is inside you.  Don't laugh, it's more difficult in some patients than it sounds to steer 5-feet of scope around the large bowel and it's both a brilliant teaching device and aid for experienced operators with technically difficult patients.  Sigh, yes, me!

Also, as you correctly deduce, any polyps they find are going to be removed - needs diathermy - which is a *potentially* hazardous activity for your PM (the leads can pick up the RF energy - quite a lot with cutting diathermy) and *could* fry the amplifiers in your box.

I'm a few years away from my next check 'scope (family history), so haven't faced this yet, but I don't imagine any of it makes an endoscope session impossible, just another little concern for them to risk-assess.


by NiceNiecey - 2020-01-03 10:02:11

Change doctors. 


by Gemita - 2020-01-03 12:21:19

Hi Pacer,

My worst nightmare in having a colonoscopy is the preparation required to clean out the colon before any imaging can take place.  The purging of bowel contents messes with our electrolytes and causes some of us to experience worsening heart rhythm disturbances.  

My consultant arranged for me to stay overnight in hospital so that I could be monitored.  I came over faint during the preparation and by the time I got down to theatre to have my colonoscopy, my arrhythmias, particularly AF, were very very active.  My heart rate got up to around 150 bpm but they managed to get it down and proceeded with the procedure.

My colon is tortuous, endlessly over long and loops of small bowel were definitely where they shouldn't be.

Having said all the above, it is essential that we get checked regularly for signs of cancer, particularly traces of blood in stool, since early detection saves lives.  Good luck Pacer.  You are doing well

Good point

by crustyg - 2020-01-03 12:41:44

Thanks Gemita - it's a very good point. Lowered potassium and / or magesium can make things *much* worse and reduce the effectiveness of any anti-arrhythmia meds.


by Pacer2019 - 2020-01-03 23:59:22

I heard from the nurse - Tried go get specifics regarding concerns but she didn't really know or have answers but pretended like it made perfect sense - why not admit you dint know and go find out ? All I got was "company policy "

she said the Dr would evaluate my heart health to determine if I can have this test ......I said wouldn't that be better handled by a cardiologist ???  Maybe I can provide them with the recent echocardiogram ....Nuclear stress test ..... cardiac mri ..... and carotid artery scan I had done ????

skip the whole me paying him to tell me stuff I already know abiut my heart - it's all well documented in my medical records over the last 60 or so days .... he can review it on his own time 


A man after my own heart!

by crustyg - 2020-01-04 12:05:26

(Pun intended).  I salute you, Pacer2019 - that's exactly the approach that I would have taken - they can shift for themselves and actually try reading your notes and thinking about them without taking any more of your time and money.

Policy be damned - this sounds like more 'What our lawyers make us say'.

And hopefully, when the 'scopy has been done it will all be clear!.

Best wishes.

Why do it?

by Graham M - 2020-01-04 16:57:01

In the UK, we have a bowel screening program (for people over 60) that involves giving a number of stool samples every couple of years.  These are tested for occult blood, and only if they test positive are we invited for a colonoscopy.

There is no way I would go through the discomfort and danger of a colonoscopy unless it was absolutely necessary.




by Pacer2019 - 2020-01-04 18:30:46

I am beginning to think the same thing.... i have no family history and no symptoms... they push it hard when you turn 50 here- I have put it off and decided this year ...since it's free I would do it so people would stop,asking me. 
I do pay attention when an insurer is willing to pay for something like says to me the data indicates strongly the potential for issues.

maybe I need to see what data says about probability of a colon issue vs probability of an issue with a pacemaker ?


but like I said .... the condition of my heart is very well documented and can easily be accessed - without me shelling out $$$ 


You raise and excellent point !

just had one

by RedRocksGirl - 2020-01-05 15:22:34

I got my ICD implanted a year ago and had my first colonoscopy in October. They didn't have any concerns at all that I had an ICD.

The main issue I had was the prep and it was just having to drink that volume of the Gatorade mix in such short periods of time. Partway through drinking the first part of the prep I started feeling nauseated. Then one of the times in the middle of the night that I got up to use the bathroom I almost passed out. Never thought about the whole electrolyte thing. I continued to feel nauseated and did get sick (although my stomach was empty) and could even finish the second half of the prep. I felt awful till I got to the surgery center, then they hooked me up to IV fluids and it made a HUGE difference. 

It's totally drinking the prep stuff that has me not wanting to get another one ever! Other than that part the procedure itself was a piece of cake! (I know I never want to touch gatorade again!!)

You know you're wired when...

You have a shocking personality.

Member Quotes

I finished 29th in London in 2 hours 20 minutes 30 seconds which is my fastest with or without a device so clearly it didn’t slow me down ! I had no problems apart from some slight chaffing on my scar - more Vaseline next time.