Question -- about sports with a pacemaker

Hi All

I'm totally new to this site and could use some advice if you have time to share.  

I just turned 60.  I will need a pacemaker.  I never passed out but did get ligh-headed a few times in the last year.    The doctor monitored me for 14 days a Zio patch and my heart stopped 3 times for 1 second each.   My normal beats were around 49-61 beats per min.    I avoided all sports  during the monitoring period.     My recent stress test was normal 14 minutes on the treadmill and a normal echo.    The doctor indicate that I have an electrical signal problem within my heart.  


It would so helpful if  others can share their experience.  Thank You So Much. 

Can I play sports with a pacemaker?  I'm very active in softball, swimming, running and ballroom dancing.  

Can I drink alcohol with a pacemaker?  We normally have a glass of wine at dinner or a couple beers after a softball game.

What are my restrictions with a pacemaker?  

I also work in a data center where this high voltage,  would this cause a problem to the PM?












It's a help, not a hindrance

by Theknotguy - 2020-08-05 19:49:48

The pacemaker is a help, not a hindrance.  After the initial healing period you should be able to resume normal activities.  

The two things you have to be aware of in sports are possible hits directly to the pacemaker. I've only been bumped but the pacemaker pocket is a very sensitive area and it really hurts when you get hit or bumped there.  

The other thing is whether your pacemaker can keep up with your activity.  My usual problem is I start to do something and my pacemaker doesn't bring my heart rate up fast enough and I run out of "air".  You may need your rate response adjusted.  

Alcohol is between you and your heart doctor.  If he/she says it's OK, then you're OK.  Having a pacemaker doesn't exclude you from having a drink.  Restrictions are pretty much what you limit yourself.   The FAA has made it almost impossible to get a private pilot's license.  Other than that you can do mostly what you like.  There is, though, a lot of mis-information out there that gets repeated over and over.  I was talking with a therapy person and she said there was a lifetime limit of lifting 47 pounds on the pacemaker side.  Went down three floors and was talking with the security guard who said he finally broke a lead after bench pressing 300 pounds.  He knew he was pushing the limits.  So you can see the extremes.  

As for the data center, no problem.  I did computer repair and I know what you run into in the data center and there shouldn't be any problem there.  

I've resumed a "normal" life and do mostly what I like.   

Hope your adjustment to your new life goes well. 

Response to: Theknotguy

by BENS99bens - 2020-08-05 20:53:15

Thank You So Much for your feedback.   

1-second pause

by AgentX86 - 2020-08-05 21:56:35

Strange diagnosis.  A one-second pause isn't a pause at all.  At 60bpm, there is one second between beats.  EPs don't get concerned until it gets above 4-5 seconds.  There must be something else going on here.

That aside, a pacemaker won't affect you at all.  Depending on your exact electrical problem, it may take a little while to get your new toy dialed in for optimum performance but you'll be right back at it in a couple of months.

The thing you might be concerend about in a datacenter is the primary power system and perhaps if there are any rotating power converters or such.  It's been a long time since I've been in a machine room so I really don't know how much power and how densly it's packed into (small areas of) the room.

The odds are there aren't going to be any problems but it's good to be aware of potential areas of concern.  It also depends on exactly why you're getting a pacemaker.  Talk with your doctors and device technician.  After you get your PM, you'll see a "device technician".  Make friends with him/her.  ;-)  Ask questions.   You might also be visited by the manufacturer's rep while you're in the hospital.  Make a written list of questions to ask each one of these professionals.  Most of all, listen and learn.

Then come back here to let us know how it all went.  This really isn't a big deal.  You'll be fine.

living with a pacer

by Tracey_E - 2020-08-06 10:12:52

High impact sports aren't recommended but anything else is fine. I hike, ski, kayak, do ropes courses, Crossfit.

The pacer is metal, it doesn't care if you have alcohol in your blood stream.

Restrictions... once we heal it's a very short list. ARC welding is out. Don't get a job running those giant magnets at a junkyard. Stay off the electronic scales that calculate bmi. Don't tour a power plant, tho I will admit to having done that one and nothing happened. I recently got a knife block with rare earth magnets and just to be safe had my husband install it instead of doing it myself. Rule of thumb on magnets is keep it 6" from the pacer but rare earth magnets are stronger and the field is larger. 


by Dh13 - 2020-08-06 15:53:59

you may need it fine-tuned for exercise.  I have had mine adjusted a few time.  I'm 58 and run and weight train to stay fit.  They do not recommend playing contact sports.  I would love to still pay ice hockey but it would not be fair to my wife.  I would think softball would be OK.

My issue was my heart rate woud drop when exercising.  I never passed out but would get out of breath and have to stop running.  If I was not active I may not have noticed it as quickly.

Good luck.  I wish I didn't need a PM but glad they exist and I have one:-)


sports are fine

by dwelch - 2020-08-07 01:08:39

As mentioned once healed from the surgery (measured in weeks), you can go back to sports, other than things that might contact it should be better than before.  If it is a contact sport then look for a padding solution...

Nothing to worry about the pacer makes you better, it allows you to do more, it is not there to limit you.  You were limited without the pacemaker, now you have fewer limits.

You know you're wired when...

You trust technology more than your heart.

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Do feel free to contact the manufacturer of your device. I have found them to be quite helpful when I have had questions and concerns.