What is Normal


I am a 59 year old woman who had a full electrical block and a subsequent pacemaker implant. All other aspects of my heart are fine. Pre-surgery symptoms were light headedness, tired, and shortness of breath. Post-surgery I am still experiencing occasional light headed spells and for the most part do feel a great deal better. The doctors are still tweaking my beta blockers. I am not in great physical shape and do not participate in cardio activities. I had a cardio watch but had to send it back.

My at rest pulse is set at 62 bpm. Yesterday I was shopping with my sister and started to perspire and was light headed. She drove me home and I checked my BP which was OK but my pulse was at 106 after the drive home. I am now scheduled for an exam and EKG next week.

I have not been able to find any pacemaker experiences on the web so I was hoping that someone here may be experiencing similar effects or be able to help me better understand what is normal and may be a concern.

Thank you; Tracy M.    




by AgentX86 - 2020-08-15 12:47:45

First, welcome to the club and I'm sure you'd rather not know we existed.

One thing you'll find out, in deference to those in the medical community who you'll ask, there is no "normal".  Even more bizarre is that the medical types will tell you that everything is "normal".  "The sky is red", "Oh, that's normal".

Back to your issue. It's very good that you're feeling better after you received your pacemaker.  That's always good to hear.  Often pacemaker settings have to be adjusted to meet your lifestyle. SInce you're not an athlete this is less important (you're not pushing performance to the limit) but can still make a difference.

All that said, my bet is that you're not reacting well to the beta blocker.  I assume you're on metoprolol (the most common).  What you describe is a common side effect of metoptolol.  Sometimes you can push through it and it won't bother you anymore.  For many, these symptoms will never go away.  You're doctors are probably hoping you fall into the first group.  If not, there are other beta blockers and if they don't work, there are many calcium channel blockers that may accomplish the same goals.  They have their own problems, however. 

I'm sure your doctors are following the easiest (overall) path to fixing your problem.  Tell them exactly what you're feeling and ask if it could be the beta blocker causing your problems.  Perhaps they can adjust the dosage again or switch you to something else.  ...or tell you to try to hang on and adjust to it.  In any case, "that's normal".  ;-)

beta blockers

by Tracey_E - 2020-08-15 16:15:00

Why are you on it if all you have is heart block? For me being on metoprolol was like being drunk. They kept telling me to give it 4-6 weeks but when I tripped over nothing in my kitchen and broke my foot, I threw the bottle away. I did better on atenolol but it took some time to get used to it and to get the dosage right, like 6 months because changes are made slowly in small increments. Again, tho, why are you on it?  Heart block is completely fixed with a pacer, no need for meds. 

Beta blocker

by Marthajane - 2020-08-15 18:23:06

Unless you have an ectopic beat, then you require a beta blocker.  I do 

does it help?

by Tracey_E - 2020-08-16 10:16:49

Does it fix the ectopic beats? Are they cosidered harmful? It may be that the side effects of the drugs are worse than what they're trying to fix. 

Ectopic beats

by AgentX86 - 2020-08-16 18:29:11

Beta blocked can reduce ectopics.  I was on large doses (often 100mg, twice a day) of metoprolol for years and it did a good job of surpressing my Afib.  After one DCCV and metoprolol I was Afib-free for seven years, until the beast returned with a vengence. Beta blockers slow the heart, and that includes ectopics, so yes, they can work.  My AF was very slow, normal rates, so perhaps metoprolol was enough to surpress it below the NSR rate.

Stella P. Says Thank You

by Stella P. - 2020-08-18 12:43:26

Thank you everyone, you'r so kind trying to help out. I tried to research ectopic heart beats but there are many different causes so it was a little confusing. My confidence is much higher now in that I do not have to take it as gospel when told "everything is just fine". That there are many things I can discuss with my doctors that could help improve the way I'm feeling. I am suspect that the beta blocker may be lowering my heart too often, and sometimes when my body needs it to be higher. I am sure there is some adjustment in pacemaker that can also fit better with my current lifestyle.



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