Battery Life....

Hello there, I have searched high and low to see if i could find information regarding what happens when the battery life has been reached on a pacemaker and surgery has been declined. My father is 100% dependent and the decision has been made to not replace the unit. We have started to see symptoms of this, hypotension, diaphragmatic stimulation, etc. It is my understanding that the pacemaker adjusts itself and then evens out? Can anyone help me with more information? I would like a better understanding of what he is going through. While we can never truly predict when it will cease to function altogether, I was hoping that someone out there could at least let me know what may happen.

Thank you.


Battery Life

by SMITTY - 2007-05-07 04:05:09

Hi Teenalu,

Don’t know that I can answer your question, but I’ll offer food for thought. Before I say anything, have you discussed this with his cardiologist? His cardiologist will be your best source of information.

Now, you say your father is 100% pacemaker dependent. I realize you are saying his pacemaker is assisting his heart 100% of the time, but what was the condition of his heart that made his pacemaker work 100% of the time. Or maybe, a better question would be why he got the pacemaker in the first place. Second, how long has he had the pacemaker?

You see there is no simple black and white answer to your question. To try to explain what I mean, I’ll use myself as an example. My pacemaker works 100% of the time, but if the battery had rundown yesterday, my heart would not have quit beating. That is because my pacemaker is set to assist my heart in the range of 60 to 100 beat per minute. In other words when my heart rate drops below 60 BPM my pacemaker kicks in and starts working until my heart rate reaches 100. If my heart rate goes above 100 beats per minute, my pacemaker stops trying to help my heart as it is not needed. Now we will say my heart, without the assist of the pacemaker, beats 45 times per minute. So with a dead battery in my pacemaker, my heart rate would drop to 45 beat per minute and just stay there until The Almighty decided my heart had been beating long enough. That could be a few days or it could be many years.

As for your father, you need to know what this heart beat is without the help of the pacemaker and that is information probably only his doctor can tell you. If his heart rate is zero without the pacemaker, which would be unusual unless he had surgery to make that happen, I think the results are obvious. However, even then death will not be instantaneous, as they heart has a very strong survival instinct and can call on a “backup system” if you will, and keep going for some amount of time.

I see the symptoms you list, but since I’m not a doctor I can’t say yes or no those symptoms go with a pacemaker with a dieing battery. I guess you could say “the pacemaker adjusts itself and then evens out” because a pacemaker in one sense has a strong survival instinct. But when it is all said and done the pacemaker is totally dependent on its battery to assist a person’s heart and without that battery, it can do nothing.

Yours is a question unlike any I have seen here before. If you possibly can I hope you will sometimes give us some details on your question. In the meantime I’ll say again, your father’s doctor is your best source of answers for your questions.

I know these must be trying times and we wish your father, his family and friends the best.

God Bless,


good Advice

by queen_beez - 2007-05-07 11:05:59

As usual Smitty spells it out and does a great job while giving amnwsers to some almost un-answerable questions. I just wanted to say I completely agree w/ Smitty and I send your my thoughts and prayers . Please insist on the whys and get the info you need as a family to make the correct decision for your father and his care. One opinion may not be enough. Good luck and keep asking those questions until you feel in your heart you have all the facts for the best for your family.
truly, Susan

Teenalu's Dad??

by MJH - 2007-08-16 05:08:33

I'm new and reading lots of this for the first time. Anyone know how teenalu's Dad's situation came out after May 7? Makes me wonder how old teenalu and Dad are.... Did they have all the information they needed to make the no-surgery decision? MJH

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A pacemaker completely solved my problem. In fact, it was implanted just 7 weeks ago and I ran a race today, placed first in my age group.