Battery 0% and ERI before Pacemaker change????

I have had a pacemaker for over 30 years, since my late 20s. I have a Medtronic Percepta MRI Bi-Ventricular pacemaker which I am totally dependant on. The pacemakers last about 3 years between changes.

For the last 22 years I have had the same Cardiac Specialist, who has takne very good care of me, but who is now retired. During my time with him, he replaced the pacemakers when they reported there was about a month before reading 0% - once the reading reported 3 months battery life left, the booking clerk would get the paperwork started for surgery and within about 6 weeks I would be in for the replacement.

That specialist explained that he did that to give me a good buffer before battery depletion due to me being totally dependant on my pacemaker.

I now have a new Cardiac Specialist. I saw him two weeks ago, a day after the pacemaker technition informed me that the battery remaining is reporting 3 months. The technition did as they always have, passed the information to the booking clerk to get the replacement organised for about 6 weeks from then.

This new specialist has stopped that - he intends to let the battery run to 0% and trip the ERI, at which time he will book me for surgery, which could take weeks. During that wait, there will be no way to know how much longer the pacemaker will continue to work so now I am dealing with adjusting to a new specialist and the uncertainty that my pacemaker will work long enough for me to have it replaced. He explained that he is doing that because the manufacturer guarantees it will run for a couple of months...........just as my previous specialist explained why he doesn't do that, but gives me a buffer of at least a month, for safety.

I chew through the batteries fast (within 3 years) and I am seriously stressing about this! My Smeg appliances come with a 2 year guarantee and the jug only lasted 14 months! The warranty at least is 3 years...........and it could be replaced, but I can't.

Really worried about this and would appreciate some feedback.


That’s Concerning

by MinimeJer05 - 2022-02-06 08:20:05


I am sorry to hear that the adjustment to the new cardiologist isn't going well. This might be a dumb question, but can you get a second opinion from another cardiologist? 

I've only ever had 2 cardiologists my whole life and the first one retired before I had any cardiac issues that needed action (born with a bicuspid aorta, didn't give me issues until my 20s, first cardiologist was with me from birth to about 13 or 14 years old). 

I would hope that your concerns would raise alarms or cause some action. Looking at it from their end, why couldn't they bump it up, what harm is it to them if the patient is requesting it? Something tells me it's a dumb insurance reason and for that I say BS! 

I hope you can get some more clarification or a second opinion. Or at the best case, the thing has plenty of life left and you'll be fine and dandy. 

Take care



by Tracey_E - 2022-02-07 10:56:27

Some insurance requires it to be ERI before the will schedule replacement but my experience has been like yours, schedule it well before that because I'm dependent. I'm on #5 now.

I'd push to schedule now but know that if they still say no, it's an inconvenience more than a danger. ERI means 3 months left until EOS. During ERI it's still fully functional. EOS there is still another 3 months left but it will cut back function and pace at a steady rate (usually 60) rather than be fully responsive and go up and down as needed. We are safe but when we are dependent it is uncomfortable to be in EOS. So 0-3 months to ERI actually means 6 months, not 3 months. Does that make sense? 3 months of fully functional ERI, 3 months of reduced function EOS. If you schedule as soon as it goes to ERI, you should still have time to get it before it goes to EOS. 

Medtronic ERI

by Good Dog - 2022-02-13 08:15:09

Just a quick note: Medtronic dual chamber PM's (that I am familiar with) switch from full pacing mode to ventricular pacing only when they reach ERI.

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