Pacer has dislodged!

I noticed a bulge near my left underarm area.  Felt like a large lump.  Felt silly going to my heart doctor but he said it was the pacemaker and that I could probably leave it there unless it starts flipping around.  Then another surgery.  NOT what I want at all.  I'm a 77 year old gal and have only had it for a year and a half.  Seems strange it would dislodge.  Anybody else have this issue?  Thanks.  


Roaming pacemaker

by AgentX86 - 2021-03-11 23:21:12

I haven't but it's not unheard of.  Pacemakers are anchored to the pectoral muscle with a suture.  If it breaks or pulls out, it's possible for the pacemaker to migrate.

Your choices are obvious.  I'd be surprised if the ball isn't in your court.

Movement of device

by Gemita - 2021-03-12 06:34:10


I have had some slight movement of my pacemaker into my left armpit, but it was implanted fairly close to this area.  I recall other members have had movement too.  Some slight movement may be normal as the device settles, but perhaps not to the extent you have experienced.  What to do about it?

If your device flips around it can cause twisting, displacement and broken leads and you would certainly know about it.  It can also lead to other more serious conditions.  Do you have any symptoms at the moment or did your pacemaker checks confirm that all was working well?  I would want to know whether the leads are functioning as expected, with no loss of capture or whether they show any signs of stress or needing settings adjustments?

At 77, I appreciate you are not ready for further intervention.  What did your doctor recommend - to leave well alone for the moment, or to reposition?  If you trust him/her I would be guided by their opinion, especially if you are not in any pain/discomfort or are not having any symptoms like fatigue, breathlessness, dizziness.  However if you start noticing any adverse symptoms you should report these quickly.

Finally, I presume you have not knowingly manipulated your device towards your armpit?  Look up Twiddler's Syndrome.  Some patients may unknowingly (or knowingly) fiddle with their devices which could lead to dislodgment of device/leads and result in a loss of capture/pacemaker failure and a good deal else.   You would then notice a return of your pre pacemaker symptoms.  For pacemaker dependent patients this could be dangerous.

Dislodged pm

by benedeni - 2021-03-12 12:41:45

Thanks for suggestions, Gemita and Agent.  My cardio doc didn't seem too concerned that it moved but said to pay close attention to any flipping, etc.  He did check the main lead and said working fine.  I am mainly concerned because I have 100% heart block and thought if it flipped and broke the leads I could be in trouble.  I have had fatigue for almost a year now but had echo and nuclear stress test and all appeared ok.  Getting old is not for sissies for sure!  Glad for this forum though which I just found yesterday.  Thanks again for help.  


by Persephone - 2021-03-12 13:40:23

Hi benedeni - it's great that your test results have been OK.  Has your doc also suggested or provided PM setting adjustments to potentially address your ongoing fatigue?


Dislodged Pacemaker

by benedeni - 2021-03-12 13:58:56

Well, as for the doc providing PM settings adjustments, yes he raised my minimum bpm from 60 to 65.  Not sure it's helped any though.  Appreciate your help Persephone!

Wandering pacemaker

by atiras - 2021-03-13 07:58:22

My pacemaker migrated to the edge of my armpit a couple of weeks after it went in, and caused severe pain and numbness in my arm as it was sitting atop some nerves. I had to argue very hard to get it re-situated -- there was reluctance to operate again so soon, but I insisted because of the damage it was doing to the nerves.  (I was not keen for a second op, because the first one was so unpleasant, but I got the chance to speak to the guy who operated and the lead nurse before the second op -- it was the same team as first time around -- and I explained to them exactly how suboptimal the first experience had been. They listened and I don't remember a thing about the second op).

Since then, it has slowly started wandering again -- but not caused any discomfort. I need to be careful when my boy cat starts getting affectionate (for some reason he expects to find milk in the exact area the pacemaker moves around in -- has anyone studied the affinity between cats and pacemakers?) and I do check that it isn't flipping; but as long as all it does is wander a little, I'll live with it.

Dislodged pm

by benedeni - 2021-03-13 13:23:15

Gosh, atiras, what a strange reaction from the cat!  But you eased my concerns and I agree with you that doing nothing but keeping a close eye on things is the correct move at this point.  Glad you aren't having the discomfort you had after first surgery.  The first surgery for me was not a piece of cake either but the worst part was the very high blood pressure that kept me in the hospital for an extra day and a half.  Let's hope worst is behind us both! 

Never had

by Blondpacer - 2021-03-17 22:05:38

I had my first located there never dislodged. I Actually like the location. My second one the cut me in a different area I hate it there because I'm so thin feel it more. 

Dislodged pm

by benedeni - 2021-03-18 11:10:25

Wow.  So Blondpacer, your first implant was near the underarm area?  Hopefully that will mean mine won't dislodge again.  Very helpful.  Thank you!

Slipped Pacemaker

by Beca H - 2021-04-12 04:54:41

Hi Benedeni

This has happened to me this year! I have had a pacemaker since the age of 7. No problems as all with my first, second or third pacemakers, but my fourth has been a whole other ball game!

I had my fourth put in March 2020. My pacemaker has always been in my left armpit rather than my chest - a adecision that I'm very grateful my parents made so that I didnt have big scars on my chest. However I just did not recover. My armpit was swollen for 6 moths so I started doing some exercises to get rid of the swelling. The swelling however was protecting me from the fact that the pacemaker had slipped round. As soon as the swelling had gone, I was left with the corner of the box poking out and constant brusing. The pain was horrible at times! 

The hospital had me back in Feb 2021 to reposition it under general. I thought all was going well however it appears they have moved it too far in the other direction. The pacemaker is nowing pushing against the skin/muscle in another location and is causing discomfort and brusing. Not as bad as the last time but it is concerning considering I may now have to live with this discomfort for another 10 years!

Not the most positive comments sorry, but thought I would share my experience to let you know that you aren't alone.

Best Wishes



Dislodged pacemaker

by benedeni - 2021-04-13 17:10:40

So sorry you are having such issues, Rebecca.  Appreciate your response. I am learning more and more about what I might expect from this whole experience. Best of luck in getting your problem resolved.

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