I have a Boston Scientific CRT-D Device that I have had since 2005.  When I go in for a check u[ and my device is interrogated it is very uncomfortab;e - it makes me feel like I am fainting or going to faint.  Then the rest of the day I am throwing PVC's like crazy.  anyone else have this problem




by Mona - 2020-11-11 02:09:07

meant to say I have had the device since 2015



by AgentX86 - 2020-11-11 07:42:01

There is one part of interrogations that makes many of us feel faint. I equate it to riding in a very fast elevator. This should only happen for a few seconds. They're running the heart rate down until the heart takes over. Sometimes it doesn't and it the patient feels faint. The device tech should warn when this is about to happen.  There are also parts where the rate is run up to see how it performs at high rates, as well. Other tests should be completely begnign. I don't see how these could cause long-term problems but anything's possible, I suppose. Perhaps your anxiety is increased?


Heart rate changes during interrogation

by Gemita - 2020-11-11 11:15:35

Hello Mona,

You sound very sensitive to any sudden changes in your heart rate either upwards or downwards that will happen during an interrogation.  I can tolerate an increase in my heart rate during testing, but decrease, absolutely not and I really know about it.  

Ectopic beats like PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) and PACs (premature atrial contractions) always seem to occur during a heart rate drop, however brief the period of testing.  If I am unlucky, perhaps like you, I will come away from the hospital with a heart firing in too many different areas and I know I will be in for a rough ride, maybe for hours.  I am over sensitive to a heart rate drop.  I just cannot tolerate it.

I wonder if this is what you are experiencing too?  And yes, ectopics although benign, are still arrhythmias and when they are prolonged and frequent, they can certainly cause symptoms.

I noticed in your history, another contributor suggested you ask your technicians whether testing could be done in a different mode, for example a dual chamber pacing mode, to provide a more natural (physiological) approach, which would allow the upper chambers to pump in tune with the lower chambers during the test period.  In this way you might feel your symptoms less.  Did you ask your technicians which mode they place you in during testing and whether testing in a different mode could help prevent your symptoms?  I am uncertain what mode they place me in for testing but this might be worth asking about. 


by Theknotguy - 2020-11-11 11:47:09

The first problem is the people doing the interrogations don't have pacemakers and don't know what happens to you nor do they have any idea of what the interrogation can do to you physically.  Usually they're younger people and don't have a clue about how badly you can feel as their youth compensates for most adverse affects.  And, to cap it off, when I told my EP the techs were being rough he just said I was being overly sensitive.  

As for having problems, yes, I've had similar after interrogations.  I am, fortunately, one of those people who can feel what's going on during the interrogations.  What the techs were doing was first, as AgentX86 pointed out, was dropping the heart rate to see when the heart would kick in.  That part didn't bother me.  The second thing the techs did was to run the heart rate up real fast.  It really hurt and I'd sometimes go into an afib session the next day.  When I talked to my EP, he said that couldn't happen.  But then again, he didn't have a pacemaker and I did.  

What you can do.  Most of the people working in the medical professions are really caring people.  If they weren't they'd probably be in another profession. Also, most of the not-so-good ones are weeded out early because they can kill someone or get the institution for which they work in to really big lawsuits.  So it's not advisable to have them around.  So, what do you do?  You talk with the techs and let them know what's going on from your side.  

Fortunately my EP had one consistent tech, Tim.  And I let Tim know I was having problems post interrogation.  Tim was willing to work with me and let me know what he was doing and when he was doing it.  I was able to identify when he ran the heart speed up and what it was doing.  Consequently in future interrogations he didn't speed the heart up as quickly and I quit having the post interrogation afib sessions.  It still really bothers me when they do the heart speed up test but at least I know what's going on.  During the interrogation I usually say something like, "Hey!!  I can really feel that!", and the techs know to back off.  

My EP finally retired and my new EP has his own tech.  So when I went in for an interrogation with her, I started yelling about the heart speed up session and to take it easy.  She was willing to do so and she didn't just zap me with a quick speed up session.  She also did a few more checks than Tim had done so overall I feel I got a good interrogation session with the new doctor.  

Most of the doctor offices in the US have the post - how-did-we-do - check up form and you can use that to let the office know you aren't being treated well and no one is listening to you.  Most of the larger doctor offices have an office manager and if a tech isn't listening to you, you can throw a temper tantrum and end up having a discussion with the office manager.  And, of course, you can always let the doctor know you don't feel you're being treated well.  The doctors worked hard to get where they are and they usually don't like having a bad review because someone on their staff messed up.  And, if you still aren't getting anyone to listen to you, you can call your medical insurance and let them know you want to switch doctors.  So you have a lot of options to make changes.  

I hope your future interrogations go well.  

Speak up. Interrogation doesn't have to be a terrible experience.

by Gotrhythm - 2020-11-11 14:49:04

First of all, you are not alone. Some people feel nothing during interrogation. But some, like us, feel everything and find it very unpleasant. I don't know how common it is, but it's certainly not that unusual.

Talk to the tech. Tell them what you've experienced. There are adjustments they can make that will make the process less uncomfortable for you--not the least of which is simply to tell you before they speed up or slow down the heart. LIke the phlebotomist warning you before a stick, knowing it's coming and knowing it wil be over in a second or two makes a big difference.

The tech can also program your pacemaker with a warning/reminder that you have this problem. It will show up on the screen at the start of every interrogation so that you won't have to go through "the talk" every single time.

If talking to the tech doesn't work, talk to the doctor. Unless you tell, the doctor doesn't know what's happening.

By the way...

by Gotrhythm - 2020-11-11 14:52:48

When the Pacemaker Club are casting about for a poll topic, feeling what's happening during in interrogation would be a good one.

It would be nice to know, at least among our members, how common the experience is.

I feel it too

by PacedNRunning - 2020-11-12 15:18:31

I always feel when they check.  I don't feel lightheaded or dizzy. Just the sensation of my heart slowing and speeding up, thumping.  


I do work as a Part time pacemaker tech and I will say most older people feel nothing. I'm talking 75+ in age.  The other ones that don't feel it are ones that pace 100%. We can run the rest in a certain way so you feel less. Just ask the next time you go in.



I feel it three

by AgentX86 - 2020-11-12 17:38:16

I'm 100% paced (dependent) and sure feel the bottom fall out.  It makes sense because my heart never takes over from the pacer.  It's essentially pre-syncope.  Those who's heart will take over will feel it to a lesser degree the higher their natural heart rate.

You know you're wired when...

Bad hair days can be blamed on your device shorting out.

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