New to this way of life

Hello,

I am new to this platform but since having a PM is a new way of life I guess I will be spending more time in this forum.  I am 63 and had atrial fibrillation 6 events in 3 years and I was stable on meds but a Dr. recommended I have a cardiac ablation to get rid of the faulty circuits that cause A-fib. I had it done on 11-6-20, and it seemed to be a success.  After about a month I started feeling lightheaded and felt faint a few times so I went to the doctor and I was told to wear a Holter monitor for 48 hours.  About a week later I received a call and was told I now have Bradycardia and the only treatment is a pacemaker and they wanted to get me in right away! I was shocked! I never had a slow heart rate before. Anyways, that is why I now have a pacemaker and I still don't feel right. I had my first appointment earlier this week and they made some adjustments but I still feel things.  Sometimes when I walk about 1/4 mile I feel winded and my heart feels like it is being squeezed.  Since the adjustments I also have these slight stabbing pains just below my heart or at the bottom of the heart, I am not sure.  Anyway, I am interested in hearing from others who were having some weird feelings with their pacemaker and how long it takes to get "back to normal."  I realize that every case is different but just to know I am not alone is very assuring.  

Thanks,

BobN


3 Comments

You are not alone!

by TLee - 2021-02-25 22:38:14

I was diagnosed with a-fib 2 years ago, which was being treated with moderate success with medication, meaning that I would still experience symptoms, but maybe less severe & less frequent. After cardioversion failed to correct the problem, we advanced to the "next step": ablation. After that procedure, I began to have much more severe dizzy spells, at times feeling that I was close to losing consciousness. I wore a remote monitor for a month, and it showed some longish pauses, averaging around 4 seconds. That was the reason for my pacemaker.

Did the ablation cause the pauses? I may never know for sure.

Do I feel bad even with the pacemaker? Yes. I still have occasional symptoms of a-fib (more often that I'd like), because the pacemaker does not fix that. I do have chest pain on occasion (very mild). I think that the mental & physical trauma involved in the procedure can contribute to feeling unwell.In fact, my first post to this group sounded very much like yours, and many people assured me that what I was feeling was not unusual.

So no, you are not alone, but yes, there is hope. Since some meds used to treat a-fib can slow the heart rate, and the pacemaker can now take care of that, more treatment options may be available. I also have hope that my device can eventually be "customized" to my needs so that it works just as it should. I must admit, I still sometimes feel like everything happened too fast & maybe went a step too far, but all we can do now is move forward!  Best wishes  

Six evnts in three years

by AgentX86 - 2021-02-27 00:32:44

With AF so infrequently, I'm surprised they're so aggressive with the treatment.  How symptomatic are you?  Unfortunately, damage to the sinus or A/V node is possible during ablation surgery.  It sounds like your SI node was damaged, causing Bradycardia and pauses.  I assume by what you've written that there was no sign of Bradycardia before.  Pauses can easily be hidden during sleep, when the heart naturally slows, until it gets to a dangerous level.  Four seconds isn't horrible but some EPs recommend PMs at that point.  Others want to see five or even six seconds before they pull the trigger.  I was at three for some time, until it went to eight.  It was found with an event monitor during sleep.  I'm sure I'd had others while awake (pre-syncope).

Complications

by TAC - 2021-02-28 12:25:36

I had suffered from paroxistic AF for many years. In 2009 I had thoracic aortic surgery at the age of 76 years. My sugeon recommended that I should have the Cox Maze procedure to treat the AF. I was free from AF for 7 years but AF came back. When I was 84, I developed an episode of supraventricular tachycardia alternating with episodes of AF and severe bradycardia. My electrophisiologist recommended an antiarrhythmic drug (Tikosyn), but he  said that it would be dangerous because of my bradycardia. The only way I could take the Tikosyn, was if I had a pacemaker implanted, so that my heart would keep on beating in spite of the slow signals from the Sinus node. When I had my pacemaker implanted, I became very self conscious of the device. I  felt or imagined many symptoms. Some were magnifications of normal sensations. It took me about a year to get used having the device and trusting it. I suggest that we should listen to our electrophysiologist and believe what he tell us, because it’s impossible for us to be objective with ourselves.

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Life does not stop with a pacemaker, even though it caught me off guard.