ERI - No Surgeries Because of Covid

Hi Everyone - I am a 72 year old woman who has had a Medtronic Pacemaker for 12 and 1/2 years (for Bradychardia - sick sinus syndrome.) I went into ERI on August 5 and feel just horrible. Extreme fatigue, constant fluttering heartbeat, difficulty breathing, extremely low blood pressure. Problem is: I live in a small town in Southern Oregon and all of our hospitals have shut down surgeries because they are short- staffed, and have no room - over-flowing with Covid patients.

i assumed that once I reached ERI I would be scheduled to get a new pacemaker right away. But the answer I received at cardiologist's office was that I have 90 days, am not going to die immediately, so I am on a "back burner" for now. I am between a rock and a hard place.

How soon is a "normal" time for replacement after reaching ERI? I seriously don't know what to do at this point. I am trying to be calm, but it is difficult. Thanks for any thoughts, advice, or reassurance. Signed - Trying Not to Freak Out



by new to pace.... - 2021-08-15 15:25:49

If it was me i would look for a larger hospital that was open for surgeries. while you are waiting.  Your cardiologist should be able to help or contact an EP, since they are the ones to replace this.  From reading other queries you do have some time an not to worry.  I know easier said then done.

new to pace

Keeping calm

by Persephone - 2021-08-15 16:59:11

I'm sorry you're going through this, ORgirl - it's tough enough to feel bad and then also have to battle to get help at the same time.  Please keep pushing your medical practice to help you or refer you to somewhere else.  If you can travel to another facility, perhaps you should investigate that possibility.

Pacemakr replacment

by AgentX86 - 2021-08-15 21:40:05

As long as your leads are good, pacemaker rwplacements can be done as an outpatient, perhape even at an outpatient clinc. Interventional cardiologists also perform pacemaker implants so perhaps there are alternatives. As has been suggested, a large hospital might be an alternative, too. They've made functional and operational changes to completely isolate patients and staff. The onset of ERI doesn't signal impending failure but if you're feeling that bad, I'd sure be looking for alternatives even if I had to travel.


Trying to cope

by Oregon Girl - 2021-08-15 21:49:49

Thank you all for your advice. Although I like my cardiologist a lot, I plan to call my insurance company this week to find out what my options are. Also, for those of you who have been through it, is it normal to feel this bad in ERI?


by Persephone - 2021-08-16 10:26:08

Haven't been there myself, but I would say trust your instincts.  You know how you're feeling and it's not normal for you.  Maybe also you'll be able to reach a resolution with your current medical practice to get it done sooner if you keep talking to them and convey your feeling of urgency. 


by Marybird - 2021-08-16 13:13:38

Hi Oregon Girl,

I've not had the experience of ERI, but my daughter's pacemaker, implanted in 2012, reached its ERI last summer. It was expected, but she woke up one morning feeling listless, tired, and realized her pacemaker was pacing at a steady 65, no matter what she did. There was no rate response function, just that pacing at 65. She basically didn't have the energy to do much except play couch potato, and her docs' office advised her to do just that. They scheduled her generator replacement for a week after her pacer went into ERI, and she took the week off work ( she's a nurse) as she wasn'table to carry out her duties at work. 

I hear of medical procedures being postponed due to covid, and I know your pacemaker replacement isn't a dire emergency yet, but still, it seems reasonable that it be replaced as soon as possible, or at least not to leave the replacement date open-ended as it seems yours has. It's not fair, as I see it, to leave you hanging, your life on hold, for a procedure you need to carry on. Can you at least get them to come up with a date they can plan for your pacemaker replacement? 

Elective surgery?

by AgentX86 - 2021-08-16 20:17:20

Today my wife told me about a heart attack patient being refused at a large metropolitan hospital's ER here. By the time he got to a hospital that would take him, the guy died.  Ambulances are being diverted from many hospitals, including both in this county. We're told not to have a auto accident right now (we had one just four weeks ago). No place for an ambulance to go.  The hospital, above is one of the two level-1 trauma centers in the metro area, five in the state. The statement is that diverting ambulances away from hospitals is fairly normal yhis time of year but all of them?

The covid situation isn't as severe as it was a year ago but there is no explaining the even more dire ER problem.

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