lead dislodgement

Hi I got my first pacemaker last week. I was told not to lift anything heavier than 20 lbs or place my arm over my shoulder for a month. I am 42 and have a 5 week old baby. The baby weighs just over 10lbs and I have been mainly carrying him on my right arm and only using the left to make sure he doesn't fall.

When I sleep I often extend my arm over my head when I sleep on my side. Since I have had the pacemaker in I have involuntarily brought my arm up over my head twice while asleep. Neither time was for more than a second as I woke up immediatly, cursed myself for doing it, and put it back down.  I am as cautious as I am able and constantly worrying that I am going to do something which will negatively effect this recent surgery. I have no frame of reference as to how easily these leads are dislodged and worrying about whether or not I have/will is causing significant anxiety. Can anyone tell me if what I have done could or will cause the leads to become displaced? If they have/do how would I know? I am brand new to this stuff and can't tell you the worry the whole thing causes me.

Thank you



by AgentX86 - 2021-06-14 10:36:58

The chances of pulling a lead loose are very (very) small but non-zero.  Try to do your best to avoid extending your arm.  Some have used a sling at night to keep the arm at the side.  I slept in a recliner for a couple of months (about a month longer than needed). 

The weight limit also keeps the incision from breaking open, which is very serious. An infection is deadly serious.  The leads are a direct path, directly to the heart.

Do your best and don't beat yourself up for doing what comes naturally.  We all (all) made the same mistake you have and every one of us survived.

Thank you

by BHD - 2021-06-14 11:02:07

Thank you Agent

A new baby AND pacemaker! You hit the lottery.

by Pharnowa - 2021-06-14 20:39:46

I can say this, if you feel fatigued the first thing I would think of would NOT be the pacemaker.

I also lifted my arm during my sleep and I found that I awakened probably immediately. They leave some slack in the leads.

As long as your heart rate is being kept as it's supposed to be on the pacemaker, the leads are probably fine. With Biotronik you have should have home monitoring and I think they would pick up if the PM isn't functioning correctly.

Agent86 covered it, but I will mention that my EP set a weight limit of 10 lbs. I'm not sure if your stated weight limit is a typo or if your EP allows twice that amount. I'm sure the baby's weight is fine, just over.

Also, keep the left arm moving, but below the shoulder. The shoulder can freeze up but gentle use of the arm will help prevent that.

Best wishes to you!




by Tracey_E - 2021-06-15 11:12:01

After the first 24-48 hours, the odds of dislodging a lead are very small and the limitations are just precaution. There was a study done that had patients with no restrictions and they had no more incident of lead dislodgement than patients with traditional restrictions. I've seen my own doctor drastically reduce restrictions in the last 10 years. (I'm on #5, been paced since 1994)

I had a replacement when my kids were 1 and 2. I changed diapers on the floor so I knew they couldn't fall if they got squirmy and I wasn't fast enough to grab them. I also played with them on the floor so I wouldn't need to pick them up as much. 

I found sleeping hugging a small pillow helped keep my arm down and kept me from rolling on my sore side. 

I was also allowed to lift 20 pounds while healing. A lot of doctors say 10 but many are ok wiht more than that. 

Thanks Tracey

by BHD - 2021-06-15 12:26:20

Thank you, that does help me feel better. Verbally the doctor told me 10 lbs but my written discharge directions say 20. He also told me repeatedly that I don't have to remember what he says as it will all be written down for me when discharged but obviously I did remember. Anyhow I am adhering to the 10 lb rule to be safe outside of carrying the baby who was 10lbs 4 oz at his weigh in last week, and even then I only carry him with my right arm and use my left to ensure he doesn't flop over.  I will use some of the other suggestions you provide to help take care of him. Thanks for all the comments as they are truly helpful in this new stage of my life. The last few weeks have been crazy!

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