What to expect after pacemaker surgery

I am having a pacemaker put in Tuesday May 22, 2007. In the past I had two ablations and one epicardial ablation, the totally ablated my SA node. I do not have a SA node that works. I have no sinus rhythm. My AV node is trying to control my heart. Because I am in juctional rhythm my heart rate ranges between 40-60. This is the reason I need the pacer. I would like to know what to expect when I wake up from surery pain wise. Does it hurt a lot? How long is it sore for? What helps to reduce the pain? Do they use staples, steri strips, or stiches to close the site? Anything you can tell me would be great.

Toni


11 Comments

Welcome!

by tcrabtree85 - 2007-05-18 02:05:39

Hi Toni,
Welcome to the site. I wish you luck on the 22nd you will be in my thoughts and prayers. Getting the pacemaker placed in wasn't the hard part for me. The procedure lasts about two hours. Remember when you wake up not to move your hand much. As you can't lift your arm much for up to 4-6 weeks depends on your dr. You really want your lead or leads to develop scar tissue around them so you know that they are in place.
Things will feel weird at first but over time you will develop to get use to it more. It will take some time but things will work out. Sounds like we have had some similar procedures done. I've had two ablations done also and my problem is in both my SA Node and my AV Node.
They use this stuff that is kinda like glue to close the site they then place steri strips over the site which you will leave on for one week at your follow up apt they will remove them. They will and should explain everything to you before discharge.
If you have anymore questions feel free to private message me I will try to answer any questions that I can.
You came to a good website I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I have. It really has helped me these past couple months. Take care of yourself and keep asking questions.

Blessings,
Tammy

one more tip!

by bambi - 2007-05-18 02:05:47

Hello Toni,
There's been such excellent advice, that I can't really add anything except that I found applying ice packs over the incision to be the absolute best remedy for pain and swelling! This topped any pain meds they gave me! Lots of luck, many will be thinking of you!
Bambi

Pain

by Vai - 2007-05-18 04:05:25

Welcome to the site.
The pain post-implant pretty varies from each individual. There are many different experiences shared on this site. For me, the post surgey recovery was totally painless and I had no inflammation (redness or swelling) at the incision site. The band-aid over the incision was removed after a week. Just a neat 2 inch scar is all that is visible now. The PM is hardly noticeable. I had some pain medication prescribed for 2-3 days post surgey but I did not need to take them.
I guess it is very important to get advise from the nurse on incision care and observe all the do's and don'ts.
Best of luck in your surgery & recovery.

Post pacermaker

by amanda - 2007-05-18 05:05:14

I had no pain after my pacemaker implant either but I did have some brusing around the site for a few days. Everything went as expect for me but I did take a little more care than usual not to apply pressure to the area and being female I was a little more careful about the style of bra I choose to wear in the first couple of months for extra comfort. All the best for your surgery and I hope everything is a breeze for you. Please give us a follow up on how you are going.

Welcome!

by Meerkats - 2007-05-18 08:05:02

Toni,

Welcome to the site and good luck with everything. I'll be thinking of you. You'll be sore, but it's completely bearable and doesn't last all that long. I had a pacemaker put in last June and then had it switched out for an ICD in January (long story...I'm a very rare case...two conditions). Anyway, I put together a random list of advice a week after I got mine and have posted it a couple of times here on the site. It might help you so I'll repost it. (P.S. Blake...since we know we'll always have new people seeking us out with questions like this, maybe we could have an easy to find list that we could add to but people could find at the top level of the site. Just a thought)

In no particular order...

Before surgery, move some of your dishes and glasses at home to shelves where you won't have to stretch to reach. You can use your right arm, but it's less painful to not stretch at all the first few days.

If you're a woman, consider packing a strapless bra for the hospital. When I got home, I put one on and it was so much less painful without the weight of my breasts tugging on the the incision. And I'm not large or saggy at all. I even slept in mine and it was much more comfortable.

Get some of the squooshy pillows...the kind filled with teeny beads that are covered in stretchy nylon. Lots of kids have them and they sell them in fun shapes and colors. They're very lightweight and perfect for molding however you need it. I used one tucked under my slinged arm at night so my elbow wasn't tugging down the incision site.

If you're not used to sleeping on your back, consider putting a pillow under your knees. My back killed me the first night but once I put a pillow under my knees, the pain disappeared.

Consider having your partner sleep in a different bed for the first two nights. My husband is a flailing sleeper and I was terrified he'd whack my incision...he slept in the guest bedroom for a few nights.

Get a good haircut that doesn't require you to raise your arm above your head to style. You'll still want to look good while recovering.

Identify clothes from your wardrobe that are easy to put on. My casual summer skirts with elastic waistbands and some shirts that snap up the front were perfect. And slip on shoes. And invest in a front closure bra for when you eventually put a strapped bra on.

Get out and walk as soon as you feel you can...I walked around the hospital even and it felt good just to move around, even if slowly at first.

A friend brought by a tray of cut up fruit and veggies after my surgery. Since I was home alone a lot during the day, it was the perfect food to have around. No prep necessary, no cutting, no anything, just grab and eat...and it was healthy. You might consider fixing up a tray the night before you leave so you'll have it when you get home.

My bed is kind of high and I'm kind of short. Without the use of both arms to get myself in and situated, I realized it wasn't that easy. My husband brought me the stepstool from his closet and put it by the bed...perfect for using as leverage to shift my behind farther into the bed once I got in, then I swing my legs up.

Pain is different for everyone, but take the pain med prescription offered to you when you're discharged. I felt good in the hospital, but by the time evening of my first night home came around and the hospital drugs had worn off, I was kind of uncomfortable and the Percocet helped me sleep. With my pacemaker, that was the only time I took the pain med...the first night. With the ICD I took it for the first 3-4 nights. You will experience some discomfort moving around, like from laying to sitting, the first week or so...but it's bearable. Some people find ice helps.

Consider getting a soft velcro seat belt strap pad. Sometimes the strap while driving hits right over the incision or the implant site and makes things uncomfortable. I use mine all the time, even now that I'm healed. You can usually find them for about $5 in the auto supply section of any superstore (Target, Meijer, Walmart, etc.)

Ask your docs and nurses everything you can think of. Remember, they're working for you! Let them know of your concerns, fears, pains, wants, needs, desires, etc.

Good luck and take care! Let us know how it goes.

Lisa

Oh I forgot to say

by amy29 - 2007-05-18 11:05:38

They don't use staples... I had the first operation I had stiches they had to take out..the second operation I had steri-strips (stiches did not agree with me ) and the third operation I had some kind of glue stiches ..If you can ask for one I would ask for the glue stiches...they didn't need to be removed and I healed very fast, no problems at all with them.
amy29

You will feel better!!

by amy29 - 2007-05-18 11:05:43

I had alot of problems with my leads but it has been worth it. I feel much better. Just remember you will feel great after the operation (a few days after) but rest and no lifting for six weeks!!!! The more rest you get, the better you will feel! Trust me I have had my leads fixed 3 times the first operation to get the PM was a piece of cake. You don't want the leads coming out and the incision being opened over and over it can get painful...just rest.. that is the best so you heal! This is a great helpful sight and the people are nice. Don't worry about the operation it will go great and you will be back on your feet and as good as new in no time:)
If you want to ever talk you can mess. me any time:)
God Bless
amy29

You will feel better!!

by amy29 - 2007-05-18 11:05:44

I had alot of problems with my leads but it has been worth it. I feel much better. Just remember you will feel great after the operation (a few days after) but rest and no lifting for six weeks!!!! The more rest you get, the better you will feel! Trust me I have had my leads fixed 3 times the first operation to get the PM was a piece of cake. You don't want the leads coming out and the incision being opened over and over it can get painful...just rest.. that is the best so you heal! This is a great helpful sight and the people are nice. Don't worry about the operation it will go great and you will be back on your feet and as good as new in no time:)
If you want to ever talk you can mess. me any time:)
God Bless
amy29

Welcome

by stampinamyk - 2007-05-18 12:05:45

Hi Toni. Sounds like you got some good info on the post pacer. Just wanted to let you know that I received my pacer for the same reason--2 ablations leaving me with a junctional rhythm and a resting heart rate in the 30's. Good luck!
Amy K

Conjunction Junction, what's your function? :)

by valerie - 2007-05-20 06:05:40

Hi Toni!
What great advice you received. I second Bambi’s reply on applying icepacks. It helped me a lot! And it also eases the itchy feeling (some people’s incision itches a bit while recovering; or at least mine did, lol). Just make sure you don’t put a ten pound block of ice on your chest as it might be a bit uncomfortable. :)

Also, have your family/friends treat you with little candy snacks here and there. Candy makes people happy, and when you’re happy, you’re less likely to notice the pain.

But then again, in the words of Willy Wonka:
“Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.”
LOL jk.
Good luck on Tuesday! You’re in my prayers.
Take care,
~valerie

Beta blockers sotalol

by Daver - 2018-03-22 23:07:53

After having implanted a pace maker my cardiologist put me on sotalol 80 mg twice a day.  Having very tough time with fatigued, low energy, low appetite, swelling in feet....etc.   please help....I even try cutting it in half to 40 mg twice a day.  But no relief.  Pace maker is working fine per Cardioogist.   Please help me if some one has gone through the same  Experience.   Can beta blocker be cut down to once a day?  Or is there any other beta blocker with less side effects?

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