Sick Sinus Syndrome impact on life expectancy

Hi Fellow heart-device owners, I'm a 47yr old father of 3 girls (aged 9 to 15) and was diagnosed with Sick Sinus Syndrome last month after a couple of fainting spells and got a PM fitted.  Was at my follow-up with the dr, but forgot to ask him what the expected impact on life expectancy is.  Any informed views on this (scary) topic? I am healty otherwise.


Life expectancy with sick sinus syndrome (SSS)

by Gemita - 2020-12-07 07:44:12

Gideon, now that you have the treatment for your condition (a pacemaker) firmly in place, I can see no reason why your life expectancy should be reduced!!  Providing you stay healthy and adopt a healthy lifestyle, there is no reason why you should not live a long and happy life with your family.

I also have SSS and have had it for years and that has been tough on my body and has led to syncope and arrhythmias.  Without treatment, my quality of life was poor.  With my pacemaker I feel almost normal again.  

The outlook for someone with SSS I was told will depend on the type of arrhythmia(s) present, the age of the person, and any other heart problems that are present.  SSS usually gets worse with time although people who have pacemakers implanted to control their arrhythmias generally do very well.  I can experience extremely high heart rates (Tachy/Brady syndrome) so my outlook may be less certain, especially if my high heart rates cannot be adequately controlled





Gemita has covered this

by crustyg - 2020-12-07 09:05:43

I would add in that any information that you've received, or heard of, suggesting a link between prolonged vigorous exercise and *your* SSS should not stop you from continuing to exercise.  The beneficial effects of exercise far outweigh the risks of causing disease, although choice of exercise definitely has an effect on joint health and muscle performance over time.

In other words, carry on living your life as normal.  I do, along with many others on this forum.

Thanks Gemita and crustyg

by Gideon - 2020-12-07 10:12:48

Thanks for sharing your positive views. I'm still getting my head around this and it really helps to hear from people who are handling it so positively. 

SSS and exercise with PM

by ar_vin - 2020-12-07 12:43:03

Welcome to the PM club!

You're young and you run so you'll need to work with your PM clinic to adjust your PM settings to support your running and other physical activities.

Please take some time to search this site for prior posts on this topic, read up on the documentation for your PM model from the vendor website for your PM and please ask questions here. There are many of us who have a similar diagnosis as you do with PMs. It can take some time (2-3 months) for your body to adjust to having the PM. During the next few months work with your PM clinic to have your settings adjusted.

A good understanding of your condition, your PM model, how PMs work in general and your physical activities will help you work with your PM clinic to get the settings you need. It can be a steep learning curve at first but you have a lot of great resources, including this forum.

We have excellent members here who will answer your questions and share their own experience and knowledge, as witnessed above: both Gemita and crustyg are very knowledgeable and super helpful among many others.



Life expectancy ---no problem

by Gotrhythm - 2020-12-07 13:46:17

It's been a while since I looked it up, but the last time I researched this question, I learned that the pacemaker doesn't reduce life expectancy at all.

With a pacemaker, your life expectancy is about the same as someone your age who doesn't have a pacemaker.

We have members who have been paced since they were children or young adults. They are now on their 4th and 5th pacemakers, and are going strong.

Take care of yourself and look forward to attending your grandchildren's graduation. :-)

If you go looking for trouble...

by AgentX86 - 2020-12-07 19:50:26'll probably find it.

If you search for the answer to your question, be careful with any statistics you find.  You may find that indeed the life expectancy of those with SSS or pacemakers (or ingrown toenails) is lower than the public at large.  This is a combintation of confirmation bias and perhaps cum hoc ergo propter hoc.  The cause isn't the pacemaker. Rather, pacemakers are used to extend the life of those who are very ill as well as those who are otherwise healty. 

Thanks for the encouraging messages

by Gideon - 2020-12-08 02:34:10

Hi All, thanks for the encouraging messages.  Did exactly what AgentX86 warns against and was a bit shocked.  Great to be part of such a great support group!

What's so scary?

by Gotrhythm - 2020-12-09 15:55:54

I was amazed that you and AgentX86 managed to find scary websites so I did the research myself.

I typed in Life expectancy post pacemaker.

I found:

A 2013 study by European Society of Cardiology showed that pacemaker recipients with bradycardia and no heart disease have the same longevity as anyone else. The article title was Pacemaker for slow heart rhythms restores longevity.

Even among the elderly, studies showed women with sick sinus and no heart disease lived significantly longer than other pacemaker recipients.

These were the first two search results that came up!

I'm sorry you had a bad experience but I wouldn not want anyone to get the idea that we shouldn't go looking for answers even when the subject seems uncomfortable or threatening just because we might find some trash writen by people motivated by sensationalism. It's no trouble to check that what you are reading is scientifically derived information from a reputable source.

My takeaway from the several sources I read was that a pacemaker for bradycardia does not reduce life expectancy.

Life expectency

by AgentX86 - 2020-12-09 20:51:00

It depends on what you look for,  Look and ye shall find. 

My first hit:


Median life expectancy after PM implant = 8.5 years, with 44% still alive at 10 years, and 21% making it to 20 years post implant.  For a youngun, this doesn't sound great (doesn't sound so good to me, either).  Gotta read the fine print under all statistics.  Lies, statistics, politicians.

life expectancy

by Tracey_E - 2020-12-10 09:27:05

Here's another way to look at it... if I wasn't paced, I would not have seen my 30th birthday. With the pacer, I'm healthy and active at 54. So far the pacer has extended my life a good 20+ years. 

I have never once had a doctor tell me this will shorten my life expectancy. My heart is otherwise normal, the pacer gives me a normal beat. 

If stats are based on years lived with a pacer, ignore those because you have to take into account the age of the average person getting paced as well as overall health. Someone 80 with other health issues isn't going to live 40 years paced, with or without a heart condition. Apples and oranges. 

Life expectancy

by AgentX86 - 2020-12-10 15:40:30

Exactly.  You can't go by statistics unless you understand the question they're try to answer.  For those who die before the median, the pacemaker probably lengthened their life.  For those after, the the pacemaker still lengthened their life.   There is no information in these statistics that says that a pacemaker, or the need for one(and has one), shortens life at all. The point is that the mean didn't really say anything about either group or the population at large.  It's easy to jump to the conclusion that pacemakers shorten life. 

Statistics are often used to lie, in this manner (not suggesting that the paper intended as a lie).  There is a 60yo old book, I read shortly after it came out,  How to Lie with Statistics. It's even more relevant today than it was then.  I highly recommend it. It'lll help navigate this world where it seems that everyone is trying to control your life (they are).

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