Exercising with a pacemaker
Hi I am new, 41 year old female, just got approved for a Biotronik pacemaker which will be fitted on 30th Nov. Nothing wrong with my heart itself, but had a brain injury 7 years ago which left me with severe autonomic dysfunction. I pass out and am presyncopal much of the time due to low HR and low BP althouth the latter is relatively normalised on fludrocortisone.
Exercise has been my saviour since my accident, paradoxically I am more active than before it, and feel best when walking quickly, jogging or riding on my recumbent stationary bike. I believe it helps by increasing my heart rate and BP naturally. I can still mount a reasonable HR response to exercise, it is when I am still my HR tanks and I start to pass out.
The specialist who recommended the Biotronik felt that it would partially mimic a working autonomic nervous system by giving me a heart rate appropriate to my body position, BP and activity.
It sounds amazing, but I am just concerned about still being able to exercise to the same level after I have it. I am really encouraged by seeing others still able to exercise but have also read some confusing things about having a maximum heart rate at which it "cuts out" ? which may be lower than I currently achieve at maximal exercise, and also that you cannot use a stationary bike or treadmill as it has to sense you moving forwards in space?
I would be really grateful if anyone more experienced can explain how it works with exercise. Until I started reading on here I had only heard of quite elderly people having pacemakers who either can't or choose not to move very much anyway.
If it makes a difference, I will just be paced atrially, not the ventricles as my slow heart rate is sinus bradycardia only, not heart block. My lowest rate captured on the ECG was 38.