Do I really need a pace maker?

I was born with a large heart which my pediatrician said I grew into.  My Heart rate was 42 as a kid  and is now 30.   I have no symptoms.  I am not tired, I play golf 5 times a week and I feel fine.  I passed out once 25 years ago but after a doctor visit they had no answers.  I now believe that was when my heart was slowing from 42 to 30  because there were times I felt dizzy.  I was in the Army I could run 35 miles a week.  Anyway I just turned 60  and my primary care doctor is pushing me to get a pace maker.  I agreed to see the Cardiologist this week.   I went a few years ago and they talk about Pacing me at 55.  Since my heart has never beat at that rate it makes me a bit concerned.   I am rambling sorry.  I guess my rate drops to 21 when I sleep and that is scary but if I wake in the morning or the middle of the night I feel fine.  I guess I am not sure what to do.  



Yes, you need a pacemaker

by AgentX86 - 2021-09-28 16:15:20

Title says it all.  20bpm is one every three seconds.  We call three second times between beats "pauses".  These aren't good for your health.  You may think you're OK but you're starving your organs.  Get the pacemaker.  It's not a big deal.


by Arnbo1961 - 2021-09-28 17:12:56

Had not thought about that.  I am about 90% sure I will do it and this is more good information.   I rescheduled it for January.  Do to our fantastic health coverage in this country.  It will prbably use up my whole copay for 2022.




by Persephone - 2021-09-28 17:39:24

Hi Arnbo - when you say 'rescheduled it for January' do you mean the cardiologist visit or the PM implant surgery?  I hope you go through with the visit to the cardiologist so you can directly hear their take on your current situation.

yes do it

by Tracey_E - 2021-09-29 09:18:48

My rate was low 40's all my life, then dropped to the 30's. It was 22 when I was admitted for emergency surgery to get the pacer. When it gets that low it's not stable and our hearts can simply stop. 

I learned two things. 

1. A normal rate feels FAST at first. It felt like I was mainlining coffee the first few months. But now I'm used to it and 40 would feel really bad.

2. I didn't feel quite as great before as I told myself I did. My energy skyrocketed after I was paced. I don't get dizzy now.  I can exercise strenuously and feel great. And most of all, I'm not at risk of my heart pausing too long and not starting back up again. I think things deteriorated so gradually that I got used to it, it was all I knew.  Once I knew what "normal" felt like, I wished I'd done it a lot sooner. 

Thank You

by Arnbo1961 - 2021-09-29 12:48:11

I apprechiate the feedback.   You have helped me to move forward.   I really didn't feel I need this but have learned Quite abit.  Was there anything you couldn't do after?  I love golf and I read something about not being able to raise your arms over your head.  I think that is temporary while your healing.   Is that right?


by Tracey_E - 2021-09-29 13:37:42

Arm restrictions are just while we heal. Doctors vary, they say anywhere from 2-8 weeks not raising the left arm, average is 6. I was told wait 3 months for a full golf swing, but putt/chip/pitch was ok as soon as I felt up to it. 

Once healed, you should be able to do anything you did before, but with more energy. I run, do Crossfit, kayak, hike, ski, ride roller coasters. 


by Persephone - 2021-09-29 19:36:48

Yes, Arnbo, best to do what can be done to avoid the ER route to the extent possible and plan now.  I was that person who was rolled out on a stretcher from the cardiology practice upon getting my diagnosis, to be taken to the ER for PM implant.  This is not an experience that I would recommend.  I was in a different situation from yours in that I had been having symptoms for a couple of months and was patiently waiting for the cardiologist visit since I did not have any clue about the urgency of the matter.  Now I know. 

You can golf

by PacedNRunning - 2021-10-02 04:37:19

You can golf after the initial healing period. :). My low limit is set at 50  I started at 45 but do to settings and relying on it so much, my settings were best at 50bpm as my low. So they can just set a low limit and turn it up as needed. I have Bradycardia but I'm not symptomatic. I have a pacemaker for heart block so I can have a lower limit than most. So try talking to your doctor. Mine had this idea before I did. 

not a problem

by dwelch - 2021-10-09 10:11:48

Living with a pacer is not a problem I think I was resting at mid 40s and sleeping with a rate in the 30s.  Large heart, complete heart block.  I think they started me at 60 then dropped to 50 for a while and am back at 60 (against my will but after I changed docs I just left it).  

As stated above it is a change to have this racing heart, but you get used to it and then you would not be comfortable with the old way.  They may do a test when you go in for a regular checkup that turns off pacing to see what your underlying rate is.

I dont know what your issue is but being paced at a normal rate is not something to worry about.  If you trust your doc and they say you should get one, you should get one.  You can return to a normal life in some number of weeks after implant.  Different things take a different number of days/weeks (sleeping, sleeping on that side, washing your hair with both hands....sports).  Let the pain guide you, but dont push it, if you dont do the stiff shoulder thing, the movment and pain will get better a little every day.


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Member Quotes

I am just now 40 but have had these blackouts all my life. I am thrilled with the pacer and would do it all over again.