I'm hoping someone can answer my question.   Has anyone experienced any anxiety and/or Panic attacks before their first Pacemaker setting adjustment.   My surgery was on October 19th, 2020.  I'll be just sitting and do nothing and go into a anxiety attack.  I feel like I'm going crazy.  

Any advice or suggestions will be appreciated. 

Also ...i go to the pacemaker clinic this next Tuesday.


Just to be clear..I'm not having anxiety about getting my settings changed...just out of the blue anxiety/Panic attacks 


Can I ask you what it is that you most fear ?  

by Gemita - 2020-11-27 12:51:41

Dear Nhamblin,

Are you afraid that they will change your settings and make your symptoms worse?

Are you afraid that they will find something on your pacemaker records and tell you that you have a problem with your heart?

Are you afraid that your pacemaker check will hurt you or make you ill ?

I hope I can reassure you that the first pacemaker check is nothing to fear.  

It will be your opportunity to tell your pacemaker team how you have been and of any symptoms you may have had, so that they can decide whether any settings need changing.  

It will be your opportunity to ask them any questions that concern you, for example whether your minimum heart rate is right for you or anything else that you can think of?

I would take a sheet of paper, write down any questions that you have on one side and on the other side, write down any fears that you have, to discuss with your doctors when you go on Tuesday.  Actually, writing down our fears or questions will help to lift anxiety.  Talking about our fears to a trusted family member or friend will help too.  Try to get your fears out in the open, like you have started to do with us, your pacemaker club friends.  

The actual process of a pacemaker check goes something like this:

My clinic places a special magnetic reader over my device as I lie comfortably on the couch. They encourage me to really relax.  They use an ECG monitor to see how the pacemaker is affecting my heart.  I do not feel a thing while they carry out these checks.   My doctor collects data from my pacemaker which will show how my heart and pacemaker have been performing over the last year and which will include the state of battery, leads, any significant events like heart rhythm disturbances.  If my doctor spots signs that my pacemaker isn't doing its job properly, he might reprogramme the settings.  But basically that is it.  My several checks since my pacemaker implant were over in around 20-30 mins.

Have you spoken to your doctor about your panic attacks/anxiety.  Can he/she offer you something to help you get through the next few days?  I find a low dose beta blocker really helps steady me when I get anxious and with my heart rhythm disturbances, this treats both the anxiety and the palpitations.  Long term, talking therapy like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for the future might be worth asking about?  It seems to me you are afraid of something happening and you need to release/confront your fears, especially if these are related to your pacemaker or heart condition.  

We are here for you if you want to talk.  It can be one of the best ways to relieve anxiety.  Good luck on Tuesday 


You Don't Have to Endure Panic and Anxiety

by Swangirl - 2020-11-27 13:02:06

I'm a psychotherapist who also has a pacemaker and I've seen hundreds of people over my long carrer overcome severe anxiety.  There might be some organically based anxiety but more than 90% is caused by your thinking.  For more than thirty years the most researched treatment for anxiety is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which is practiced by just about every counselor.  There are many do-it yourself programs online if you don't have insurance and can't afford a therapist.  CBT has better results long term than medication.  If you are on medication you need to get off eventually.  Long term use of SSRI's and Benzodiazepines have very bad side effects.  It's not easy but with some work and practice you can learn how to identify and restructure your negative thinking.  Get this $10 book from Amazon and it will show you what to do and help you understand the value of the "hard work miracle" of healing from anxiety, panic, and probably depression which follows suit usually after anxiety.  

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: 10 Strategies for Managing Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Panic, and Worry Paperback – May 22, 2018

by Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D  (Author)

I hope this helps!  I wish you well.

Day by Day

by Greenspace - 2020-11-27 13:10:31

Hi Nhamblin - I can certainly understand your anxiety.  We don't welcome this feeling, but sometimes it shows up anyway.  Perhaps your some of your device settings are at a high initial level which is making you feel uncomfortable.  Relief is in sight at your Tuesday appt when your trusted medical staff can make adjustments for you.  You may want to also consider seeking the assistance of a therapist or licensed social worker to help work through your feelings of anxiety - resources can be available by tele-appts during these times.  The best thing that I got out of therapy after my implant about 3 years ago was a deep breathing technique, something along the lines of counting 4 deep breaths in through the nose, hold for about a count of 5, and breathe out slowly through the mouth for a count of 6. Sounds very elementary, but I found it incredibly helpful.  Best wishes for a great appt on Tuesday and feeling better soon.

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