feeling vulnerable

I have had a PM for almost 6 years.  I live in Mexico, and I just had my second(only) check up with what they call an engineer here...someone checking how your PM is working.  I have never had what I see referred to here as an EP(an electrophysiologist) but only a cardiologist, whom I see regularly.  I was quite shocked to learn that the PM is the only thing keeping my heart beating now...if the battery ran out or something else happened, my heart would stop.  Anyone else have this shock?  I am 77, otherwise in good health....apparently I have degeneration of the electrical system of my heart, yet another part of ageing, I guess.  I suppose I should be thankful that the pacemaker is keeping me going, but it still feels a little weird to me to know that my heart would not be beating at all without it.


8 Comments

I understand you!

by arentas80 - 2020-02-21 12:41:16

Hello! 

I can totally understand how you feel. In October of last year at only 39 I was told my sinus node was not working properly causing a slow heart rate AND pausing when I slept. It would pause up to 8 seconds. I have been healthy my entire life and to hear my heart would not beat for 8 seconds was a complete shock to me. I had a PM put in 12/30/2019. I expect as I grow older to be in the same position you are in. I just thank God that we live in the technology age where we have these little lifesavers to keep us alive. Moving forward I would have your battery checked and ask your Cardiologist for more frequent follow ups. This way you may be able to catch any issues sooner, rather than later. Take care!

Alejandro 

Pacemaker dependent

by AgentX86 - 2020-02-21 13:43:03

Sure, there are a number of us here who are pacemaker dependent. I chose it (AV ablation), to get rid of the symptoms of Aflutter, caused by a failed Cox Maze procedure.  Afterr several years trying different drugs and multiple ablations, I'd had enough. I was also having asystoles (complete electrical pause) of up to eight seconds, probably caused by the drugs.

In any case, you're not alone. Pacemakers are extremely reliable these days and there is no point worrying about it. Forget about your pacemaker and live like it.

feeling vulnerable

by xandra - 2020-02-21 16:03:32

Thanks for both comments...Alejandro, you got your pacemaker on my birthday!  I certainly intend to have the thing checked at least once a year, and in this case, 6 months from now, as I have only 12-15 more months on this one...then I will arrange for a new PM.

AgentX86, you are right and I feel lucky to have this working so well, and I will appreciate it and get on with my life!  Xandra

What are the odds?!

by arentas80 - 2020-02-21 23:24:37

Your birthday! How cool!!! Well god bless always!!! Wish you nothing but the best. 

Hi

by Bionic Beat - 2020-02-22 15:38:30

I'm also pacemaker dependent and never give it a second thought.  Its highly unlikely that your pacemaker will suddenly stop but if it did, its like a light going out.  No pain and you'd be unconscious very quickly.

 

As long as you have checkups on a yearly basis to make sure its working properly, you have more chance of being hit by a car or slipping in the bath.

 

We are very fortunate to be alive in a time when they can 'patch us up' and get us going again.

 

I too, chose an AV node ablation/pacemaker in 2008 as I was dying from heart failure caused by electrical problems.  My heart would go out of sinus rhythm and cardioversion was no longer effective.   

 

Please just enjoy your life and not worry about things that are out of your control.  You're probably going to outlive those around you.   

 

Best Wishes,

 

Bionic Beat

Pacemaker dependency - I look at it the opposite way

by LondonAndy - 2020-02-24 09:34:01

I got my pacemaker because of surgical complication when they replaced my aortic valve with a mechanical one, nearly 6 years ago.  I am 100% dependent, and my question to the technician at the first annual checkup was "How do I die?"  My [flawed] logic was now that I had this battery operated device keeping me going, would my heart ever stop beating?  I felt immortal, if only until he deflated my logic ;)

pacemaker dependent

by lcounts - 2020-03-05 22:16:06

I get how you feel. I just had my pacemaker implanted 9 days ago, and I am 23 years old. I have my post op early next week, but my garmin watch has been showing that my resting rate is 60, which is what my PM is set at the lower paramiter, so I suspect that I am being fully paced as well. Being 23, I don't know anyone else my age with a PM or who has gone through what I have. It is certainly overwhelming and very isolating, but also has given me a new perspective. It's certainly better than my old resting hr of 32! I already have so much more energy and feel so much better, and i think the mental part will adjust after some time. it's sort of overwhelming to be fully paced, but luckily we have great doctors who will replace our batteries before they die! 

feeling vulnerable

by xandra - 2020-03-06 13:00:22

Hi lcounts.....thanks for your comment.  When you have your follow up you can ask whether you are dependent...I don't think the fact that your heart rate is 60(mine too)means that you are dependent....but let me know when you find out...and yes, whatever you find out, it is so much better than the alternative...and sounds like you are really reaping the benefits....good luck to you!

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Member Quotes

The pacer systems are really very reliable. The main problem is the incompetent programming of them. If yours is working well for you, get on with life and enjoy it. You probably are more at risk of problems with a valve job than the pacer.