Thresholds and battery life

I've had my dual chamber pacemaker for 18 months. When I first got it I had 8.5 years. I now have 4 years left 18 months later. Is this normal? I will explain. I have a pacemaker for 2:1 AV block. My condition progressed to intermittent complete in July but doctors didn't know until January. We did many adjustments to help with pacing. I could all of sudden feel pacing but it was because my block worsened. So with setting changes it got better. I went from pacing 35% ventricle lead to now 80%. In January I had 7 years and each check it's gone down to 4 years in 6 weeks. Could this be a lead issue? My impendence is low, less than 500 and now mid 300-400. I hope I'm not getting too in depth but I'm just curious why it's draining so fast. At this rate it will he dead in 9 mos.  Is 5.5 years normal for a pacemaker? I do have Bradycardia too and pace about 30-40% in the atrial lead. It's set at 50bpm. Not on any meds. It's my own crazy lazy heart. 

thanks  any insight would be greatly appreciated 


It may be normal, you *may* have been affected by the BostonSci battery depletion issue...

by crustyg - 2020-03-11 09:07:28

BostonSci initiated a recall of about 2900 devices (including Accolade) during 2018 (Sep 10th) due to hydrogen initiated premature battery exhaustion, so there's a small chance that your device was one of the affected ones.  The FDA site doesn't give individual serial numbers and your EP team *should* have been able to identify if you were one of the unlucky ones.

Yes, lead failure or damage might be the cause.  Increased pacing voltage and pulse width - with more pacing required in RV might be the simple explanation.  I can't say that I would be delighted to have it happen to me, but 5.5years *might* be considered acceptable for the normal PM battery life when the box is pacing on both leads most of the time.  The extended life Accolade is a lot larger due to the bigger battery, but this potentially doubles the device life.

PM box replacement varies: for some folks it's a small, quick procedure, for others with a lot of scar tissue it becomes a surgical challenge, but in general it's trivial compared to a lead replacement.  I'm on my first, so I have this fun to look forward to.


changes to settings

by Tracey_E - 2020-03-11 09:55:08

Every time they change the settings, the estimated battery life will be re-calculated based on the new settings. So some of that isn't actual depletion, it's a new calculation based on current usage. 

5.5 years seems low

by heckboy - 2020-03-11 11:13:24

This seems low without some kind of underlying explanation. It's worth looking into.

I had partially pulled a lead about a year into my first PM 16 years ago. We decided to turn up the juice to compensate, but that cut the life to about 4 years. I'm 5 years into my current PM and was recently told that it has ten years of life left. I pace 100% of the time in my ventrical.

Extracting data , testing and resetting demands a lot energy.

by JoanneMT - 2020-03-11 11:58:35

Have you had many Pm readings/settings?  Not only resettiing but also extracting data and testing your pacemaker (apart form the percentage of pacing) consume a lot of battery.  My Pm was inserted in october 2018 (around the time yours was implanted) and have had multiple tests and resettings and mine has an estimated battery for 5 years.  

All good explanations to this

by Pacedmyruns - 2020-03-11 12:27:04

CrustyG- I will ask my doctor about the Boston Alert. It could be. In the beginning I didn't pace much so maybe it wasn't "noticeable" until we made adjustments. Thank you! 

Tracey- my rep said the same when I asked him. I was just curious because I've been at the same settings the whole 6 weeks when it went from 7 to 4 years. I had a couple checks in between for alerts. This last check we reset the counters to see if it's that. 

Heckboy- My doctor has suspected I have a lead issue for a while but I'm guessing the battery depletion is the only clue because they said everything looks fine. He's reason is because I feel pacing and we should move the lead. I no longer feel pacing after adjustments. I'm talking big adjustments to get the pacing to go away. I went from intermittent pacing to pretty much constant pacing. So maybe if my settings were this way from implant it would have been seen then. 

Joanne- Yes I've had many setting Changes. Took 10 mos to get it programmed for exercise then a new issue popped up right after that! :(. I was cruising along fine for 3 mos when bam I started feeling pacing. Awful. So we made more adjustments in 6 mos but my years stayed the same. In that 6 mos we made 6 changes. Very small ones. It wasn't until Jan when we got more aggressive with changes. But for 6 weeks my settings have been the same. I hope it stays at 5 years for 4 years. Lol. But makes sense but my rep says it doesn't use that much battery. Maybe it's the combo of monthly home monitoring, daily checks, and changes in the office. Thank you 


you've all been super helpful. I was reading other battery questions after my post and someone said not to worry about it and just keep on living. :). I will and if I need a new battery in the next 1 year or 4 years hopefully my next one will last longer 


Well I’m now down to 3 years

by Pacedmyruns - 2020-04-03 02:44:41

Just like that! I'm down to 3 years!  We will keep an eye on it.  The next month will tell us if there truly is an issue or it just increased usage.  My usage is now up to 88% in the RV lead. THat seems to keep increasing for some reason.  After I posted this question I had 4.5 years in. 3 1/2 weeks I went down to 3 years!! :(. Sad 

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It may be the first time we've felt a normal heart rhythm in a long time, so of course it seems too fast and too strong.