Redness on old scar

Hi All,

My pacemaker is 9 years old, likely to be replaced next year.

I've never had any issues with it but i woke up this morning with slight redness at one end of my scar. It looks like perhaps a little red bump and then red around it like when maybe I have scratched it or got a spot that broke. 

Should I speak to my GP about it or just keep an eye to see how it goes? I was so aware of infection when it was new but not sure if i need to be concerned now?

I am very anxious with covid right now so if this is a really stupid question that is why!





When in doubt

by Gemita - 2020-09-02 09:38:45

I would get it looked at Genie.  You could always take a pic and email it to your pacemaker clinic or pop along to see the GP.  I wouldn't worry about looking foolish !!

when to worry

by Tracey_E - 2020-09-02 10:07:14

When in doubt, get someone to take a look. Me, as long as I dind't have any other signs, I'd probably see how it looks tomorrow just in case it's a little spot of nothing. But no longer than that, if it's something you need to be aggressive. 

GP tomorrow

by Genie - 2020-09-02 18:14:50

Thank you! Am calling GP tomorrow: they are doing phone appointments but apparently i can send a picture. It feels a bit sore under my arm tonight but I am not sure if that's related or I am just noticing everything now.

I am so worry about if it is an infection needing the leads removed as I have a phobia of surgeries since a bad complication a couple of years ago. Just hoping they can find out if it is something quickly x


by Tracey_E - 2020-09-02 21:37:11

If it's an infection, it doesn't necessarily mean eveyrthing has to come out. If you hit it fast and hard, you can beat it before it gets that bad. I would ask for cultures if there's any chance at all of infection. Sometimes they just want to give antibiotics but you want to be sure you are on the right ones, not waste time trying what might not be the right one. 

Talked to GP

by Genie - 2020-09-03 08:17:01

My GP has given me 7 days antibiotics to be careful: no cultures as everything is by phone right now but she said if it isn't getting better by day 5 or gets worse then to call back. So I am going to start taking and keep an eye on it.

It actually looks less red today but the site feels weird and I am not sure if I am just imagining it. Soreness under my arm that might be muscular as i was on a long drive yesterday. So I will just need to wait and see. And keep my fingers crossed... 

Thank you for the update

by Gemita - 2020-09-03 09:15:32


Yes do keep a close eye on it.  I would take pics daily to confirm whether the area is changing in any way.  Not 100% sure I would feel happy treating with antibiotics without the area being "physically" seen by a doctor and bloods taken, but what else can I say.  If you are unhappy or worried at any time, you could always go to A&E for a proper assessment.  An infection if present could be very serious, but perhaps we are over reacting and all will be good.  Hope for the best anyway


by Tracey_E - 2020-09-03 11:06:27

I do not want to worry you but I'm gonna say this anyway. If by chance it IS infected and those antibiotics are not the right ones to fight the infection, you will have lost 5 days letting the infection grow rather than nipping it in the bud. A GP does not usually understand how critical it is for us to hit it fast and hard. They're just thinking if this one doesn't  work we'll try another. This is not a normal situation and likely one your GP has not dealt with. If an infection gets past the pocket onto the leads, it goes straight to the heart. That's when everything has to come out because they cannot risk it getting to the heart. So those 5 days can make the difference between catching it before everything has to come out. I'm sorry if that seems overly dramatic. I would try again to get cultures, possibly try your cardiologist rather than the GP. I hope I am overreacting and it's either not infected or what you are on takes care of it!   

Negative Culture

by Genie - 2020-09-17 11:59:26

Thanks everyone for this. I went back to GP and got a culture which was negative. The spot has now healed. I do feel a bit sore, and I am not sure from the pics I have been taking whether there was at the beginning of all this some swelling under my arm, so I am seeing my pacing clinic next week and hopefully my cardiologist will be there too. I am not sure though that the soreness is related. It is very minor and I wonder whether maybe something has moved or this is an irritation, or if I have just become really aware. Both my pacemaker and my leads are visible under the skin as I am thin and I have always had some tenderness because I am left handed so am using that arm all the time. 

My GP gave me a second week of antibiotics but has stopped them now as my stomach is taking a battering. So I will know pretty soon whether the antibiotics have been having any effect if anything gets worse. Am hoping not!

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