Pain and swelling from wires

I got my pacemaker about 10 months ago.  I still have swelling and pain in my shoulder, armpit and left side of my face.  My EP did a CT scan and blood work and said everything is fine but the leads restrict blood flow in the vein.  He said that's common and eventually the other veins will expand to make up the difference.  It seems like it's been a long time already and I don't see any other posts about this.  Has anyone else had experience with this situation?  I also have a big lump over and above the pacemaker.  By above I mean between the pacemaker and my collar bone.

Other than that I love this thing.  I feel younger and smarter too.


collateral veins

by islandgirl - 2022-01-29 22:11:18

Coincidentally, I just mentioned a blockage and collateral vein formation in my most recent post.  I just had an upgrade to my device with an additional lead and it was found my vein where the wires go from the device to the heart had scarred and formed collateral vessels.  My EP suspected the scarring/blockage due to the wires because my vein in that area was bulging.  I've also had a swollen/bulged area slightly above the collar bone in that area for several years with nothing found.  I had never mentioned that fullness area to my EP.  The blockage was not revealed until he did a venogram, as the u/s prior to the surgery did not reveal the closure.  I am not sure if a CT scan would have shown anything or not.  

Collateral veins

by Julros - 2022-01-30 02:06:44

Yes, this is common, although usually asymptomatic. I did not notice mine at first but at about 1 year my son noticed that one of my arms was larger and darker than the other, due to decreased blood return through my subclavian vein. I have since developed visible collateral veins over the area of my pacer. My arms are closer to being the same size, but one is till darker. I was told nothing can be done. The vascular surgeon insisted that the prolonged pain I had post-procedure, nor the excess bleeding I had that required extra sutures.  It is caused by damaging the delicate line of the blood vessels by insertion of the wires. 

Pain and swelling from leads. Collateral vein formation

by Gemita - 2022-01-30 03:25:00

Cagwine, You say you have a big lump over and above your pacemaker.   This should be investigated although it sounds as though the whole area has been checked by your doctors already?

Yes I know all about collateral veins which can form around our devices and elsewhere to enable blood to continue to flow following any trauma/partial blockage of a blood vessel.  This type of trauma is actually quite common following lead placement.  Collateral vein formation is nature’s way of getting us out of trouble, without which we might need more invasive treatments to clear any obstruction.

A couple of years after my dual chamber implant I initially experienced pain right across my collarbone for months.  The pain definitely felt “vascular” in nature to me.  I eventually noticed ugly purple veins appearing all round my device, going up into my left upper arm/armpit and down into my left breast.  I asked my doctors for advice. They did a CT scan with contrast looking for blockages of my axillary/subclavian veins.  At the time my CT Scan did not reveal any blockages, although my doctors have since confirmed that damage to the subclavian vein has occurred.  They don’t usually like to intervene unless symptoms require immediate intervention to restore blood flow.  But yes evidence of collateral circulation is usually a good sign that blood has found an alternative route around any trauma/obstruction if that makes sense.  Hopefully this will improve with time but it is unfortunately a fairly common risk factor during any cardiac device implantation.


restricted veins and vaccines

by Tracey_E - 2022-01-31 10:42:40

I've never had problems before, but I got all 3 covid vaccines on the left side. I had increasingly worse swelling after each one and was told after the last one to get vaccines going forward on the right side. You may want to follow that advice also so you don't get additional problems. 

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Hi, I am 47 and have had a pacemaker for 7 months and I’m doing great with it.