What to ask?

So I visited my doctor that handles my interrogation of my pacemaker(I dont know if they are called EP)last week and advised me not to do upper body exercises like push ups and pull ups since they flex and extend my shoulder and could make leads bend and cause wear and tears on them, my doctor said it would cause the leads to be dislodge, it isnt a high chance but theres a possibility. Though people in these forum encourage me not to worry and its ok to do these and I'm grateful and happy and I want to do upper exercises since I want to be strong while also having good aestethics, I dont want to be like a flat boards and look skinny, but I still have to ask my doctor about it.

I was doing push up and pulling exercise for a few months now since my doctor(same hospital) from the OPD section told me it fine to do these exercise and even barbells so I procceed to do it, this doctor also knows I have a pacemaker.

My appointment with my doctor would only last 5 - 10 minutes somtimes even less as I dont know what to ask. So what questions should I ask before safetly continue doing these exercises? What information do I need regarding my pacemaker and leads? Also I notice that they increase the volts of my pacemaker over the course of almost 2 and a half years, what does increasing volts purpose and why they do it? And hopefully I could my doctors through call or text since my doctors give their personal numbers. Im age 21, male and havd this pacemaker impnated since late 2018 by the way. Thanks :)


2 Comments

Questions, questions,...

by AgentX86 - 2021-01-09 23:07:58

I'd ask why he said not to exercise.   What's the down side.  Why is it a downside.  What's so "special" about you?

The "volts" is the units of the capture energy.  "Capture" is when the pacer causes the heart to contract.  So the capture voltage is the amount of electricity (sorta) that causes the heart to contract.  During an interrogation, they test this voltage, then set the pacemaker to deliver that voltage plus some safety margin.

Since they're changing this, something about you or your pacemaker system is changing over time.  The reason for the change may be that the leads are damaged or are pulling out (a possible reason they're telling you not to exercise your upper body).  It could also mean that your heart is changing in some way that it's now taking more energy to trigger a pulse than it once did.  Another question, sorta covered in the questions above but make sure you understand the difference.

Taking the first steps to full participation in your care

by Gotrhythm - 2021-01-10 15:55:27

AgentX suggestions are good. He has a lot of background that allows him to understand more than most of us about the nuts and bolts of how our pacemakers work.

Me, I don't have the background, but I've learned that if I can start with one physical fact and ask for explanation around it, it gets the ball rolling in a conversation with a doctor.

Fortunately, you have a fact you have noticed i.e., that the volts have been increased. So here are some questions. 1. What is causing the need for increased voltage? What else can cause it? 2. Could something about my heart's condition be causing it?  3. If the voltage problem continues, what will happen? 4. Are there some diagnostic tests we should be performing? For instance, is there a way to test leads to see if they are damaged? How do you test them?

5.Is there some evidence, other than the increase in voltage, that indicates a problem with the leads?

About your exercise concerns. Tell the doctor, "Body building is important to me." 1. Is there evidence, other than anecdotal, that implicates upper body exercise in lead breakage? 2.How likely is it that exercise will damage the leads? 3.What exercises could I be doing that wouldn't put undue stress on the leads?

Taking ownership of this problem, and being willing to be proactive, is very mature behavior--more mature than some people twice your age. I congratulate you. You are taking the first step which is to ask questions. It might be difficult at first, but asking good questions is a skill. If you persist, the skill will grow.  

One more thing. Being interested is body building, just wanting to look good, is totally normal for a person your age. You don't have to defend or justify it to anyone, not even a doctor. But even if it were an unusual interest, you still wouldn't need to justify it.

It's entirely reasonable to want your pacemaker to support you in living your best life. And what your best life is, is something only you can say.

PS Just so we're clear, I only used to numbers to separate the questions. They don't indicate a hierachy of importance.

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I just want to share about the quality of life after my pacemaker, and hopefully increase awareness that lifestyles do not have to be drastically modified just because we are pacemaker recipients.