Surgery to move existing pacemaker deeper in chest
I'm 91 years old, I'm new to this group and had my 4th pacer placed (Medtronic) almost 2 years ago using the existing leads(not metronic) which are almost 35 years old. It's a dual chamber pacer. Two weeks ago I visited a vein doctor to discuss my leg swelling. He gave me some advice which was helpful and he also took a look at my pacer. He is a well known cardiac thoracic surgeon at a hospital that specializes in heart conditions and heart surgery. He's not the doctor who placed the pacer. The thoracic surgeon told me that my pacer has one or two weak points with only a thin covering of skin and if the pacer pops out it could become infected and antiobiotics won't help and it would require major surgery. I do have thin skin everywhere and I have lost about 7-8 pounds over the past year. He suggested surgery to move the pacer deeper in my chest and described the procedure without going into too much detail. I called to get more details and the PA told me they remove the pacer and existing leads, replace the pacer under pectoral muscle. She said it's not a major procedure--takes about an hour--not open heart surgery and short, often painless recovery time. I have another appointment with the surgeon to discuss it further and because of my age I'm still thinking about it. My concerns are--my pacer leads will require extraction and I'm sure there is quite a lot of scar tissue around my two right chambers and age and difficulty might be a problem. In addition the present leads have a thin covering as well. I'm concerned about the risks vs gain. I ahve an anxiety disorder, kidney issues, walk with a walker but otherwise in reasonable health---althought any surgery and recovery time will be a major emotional issue---I would hate to go through it unless absolutely necessary. My heart doctor (not a surgeon) suggested the surgery would be the right thing. I told him I didn't think I was going to do it. He suggested I be careful not to bruise the area. I'm still on the fence with this surgery and have some time to think about it--any thoughts or input or personal experience would be welcomed.