Hello all! I am having issues with my pacemaker that was implanted in December 2019.
A little background on me: I was diagnosed with a complete (3rd degree) heart block in August of 2016 during a sports physical EKG. I was generally asymptomatic other than a low HR (resting at about 50, max about 120). I am a 21 year old Division I athlete, and had no prior issues completing vigorous workouts such as weightlifting, interval training, and long runs.
After the pacemaker was implanted, my max HR was set at 170. When I was well enough to resume exercising, I wore a Polar H10 heart rate monitor. During a 1 hour bike ride, I was shocked to see that my HR plummeted from 170 to 115 within 10 seconds. I repeated a workout with an Apple Watch, and got the same results—my HR was consistently plummeting very rapidly during steady state cardio.
I contacted my cardiologist about this issue and they thought it had to do with the max HR setting. They (supposedly) reset my max to 220 on March 16th. However, I have have HR data from four different workouts after that date all showing that my HR hangs around 170 for 10 minutes, and then plummets to 115 within 10 seconds. I have a strange feeling in my heart when this happens, though it's sometimes hard to distinguish if the pounding sensation is from the plummeting HR or exercising. I am always able to finish the workout, but am becoming increasingly concerned about how quickly my HR is dropping in the middle of workouts. My friend who studies exercise physiology suspects that my pacemaker is "turning off" for some reason, and that my HR is dropping to what it would be if I didn't have a pacemaker.
My doctors office seems to be pretty unconcerned with this issue, though I have yet to find anyone online who has a similar problem. Surely this is not how a pacemaker is supposed to function—does anyone have any ideas or similar issues?