My 4th pacemaker change...and getting nervous

So I am 40 and had my pacemaker at the age of 14.  I am due for my fourth implant in the next week or so and super nervous this time around as surgeon says the more often you change the battery, the higher risk of infection.  He told me he rarely sees patients my age already going on their fourth pacemaker!!! So now I am freaking out...anyone else out there get their pacemaker as a kid and still going strong?

Ilda


7 Comments

4th generator

by Good Dog - 2020-02-21 17:05:52

I wasn't a kid, but I was 38 when I got mine. I got my 4th generator a few years ago. I too worried about getting an infection. I guess it is normal to worry. However, everythinng went fine. I told the nurse that I was concerned about infection and I was suprised to learn that some folks are more prone to infection than others. She asked if I ever had one before and I told her no. She said not to worry. They gave me a special kit to use after I took a shower the morning of my surgery. A swab that I wiped my body with ahead of surgery. That was a first for me. Anyway, my 4th PM went without a hitch and was a good experience. I am confident that your's will go well also.

I wish you the very best!

Sincerely,

David

3rd generator

by barnet38 - 2020-02-21 22:10:48

Hi,

I'm 38 and got my first pacemaker when I was 17.  Now I'm on my third generator and am still using the original leads.  I'm sure your surgery will go well!

barnet38

Don’t worry

by heckboy - 2020-02-22 01:24:08

It seems counter-intuitive that the risk of infection increases with each PM.  I'm on my 4th as well and have never heard this 

They should swap your nose and groin looking for MSSA/MRSA before the PM change.

by crustyg - 2020-02-22 08:23:43

Best practice is to check to see if you're a Staph carrier - whether the dreaded MRSA or the more antibiotic sensitive MSSA.  If this contaminates the wound/pocket you're in real trouble.

Also, it's best not to have Staph carriers in the cardiac suite - makes their decontamination costs *much* higher (the suite or OR will always be decontaminated after each procedure).

According to an old paper (1997) 20% of folk are persistent carriers (about 26% of healthcare workers), 60% are intermittent carriers, and 20% never have Staph Aureus in the nose.  Carriage in patients is slightly more common, general population slightly less.  It's a real problem.  US CDC state now that about 33% of the population are Staph carriers, but only about 2% have MRSA.

So the surgeon's opinion that the more times you have a PM replaced the more likely you are to acquire an infection is correct - but there are sensible things that can be done to reduce this risk.

This site

by Good Dog - 2020-02-22 08:35:52

It occured to me after I made the first post here that perhaps one of the dangers of spending too much time on this site is that it might cause a little more worry than otherwise would be normal. Of course it is normal to worry before any surgery, it is also good to get educated, but one may see a lot of issues posted here and think that they are a bigger problem than they really are across the whole PM patient communnity. This is a good place to be for information and support if we have a problem. It is aso a great place to be able to help others that do have problems. However, thinking some issues are much more common than they actually are could very well be a negative side-effect. That can create undue worry.

4th Battery

by Pacemum - 2020-02-24 15:40:08

My daughter had her 4th battery implanted at age 18.  She has been paced almost all her life.

Arrived at hospital at 7.30 am.  Spent more time filling in forms and waiting for other patients to be discharged to get a bed then the actual time taken for the implant procedure.   Discharged home same evening.   No complications.   That was just over a year ago.

You have done well to get to 40 with just 4 implants.

never heard of this

by dwelch - 2020-03-07 11:13:38

I got my first pacer at 19, am on pacer number five, am 52, no worries whatsoever.

You know you're wired when...

You have a new body part.

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I am just thankful that I am alive and that even though I have this pacemaker it is not the end of the world.