Cardiologist Recommended I Get A Pacemaker

I just received the recommendation to consider a pacemaker.  I spoke to the surgeon yesterday by phone.  I started reading everything I can find on the internet.  The advice seems legitimate. I've had heart disease and prior heart damage, 3 way by-pass surgery 18 years ago, brachycardia, (38-42 bpm resting) Get winded with exertion, tired, etc.  I'm nervous to have something foreign put in me and wonder if it will be worth it, since I've lived this long (68 years old) without one.  I wonder what PM model and characteristics will the HMO implant.  My mind is going in all directions at once.  Reading the posts in the support forum on this website has helped a lot, and presented issues I had not thought about before signing-up here.  My next appointment is on Wednesday.  Yikes!  This is so unexpectedly complex.  


10 Comments

Undecided

by TAC - 2022-04-29 19:52:51

68 is too young to die. A pacemaker can give you at least, 20 o more years of quality life. Don't hesitate, go for it. The electro physiologist will chose the most appropriate PM for your needs. There are millions of PM's saving lives in the world.

flip side

by Tracey_E - 2022-04-29 22:19:50

Why continue to live with being tired and easily winded when you don't have to?? Life is too short not to live it to the fullest. It's silly to suffer when there is an easy fix. Under 50 is considered bradycardia, so you are clearly in that range, and you have the classic symptoms of a heart rate that's too low. Seems like a no-brainer to me. Things like this never go away, and rarely stay stable. They typically get worse so it's not a matter of if but when. The lower your rate gets, the harder it is on your body in addition to feeling bad. Organs need oxygen to thrive, when our rate gets too low, they are deprived. 

If our rate gets too low, the heart can stop and not start up again. 

I can tell you from personal experience as someone who procrastinated until it became an emergency, the surgery is easier than you think and after you'll likely feel better than you ever imagined. We tell ourselves lies. I'm tired because I'm stressed at work or didn't sleep well last night. I'm dizzy because I didn't drink enough water. We deteriorate so gradually that we adapt to being tired and weak and we have no idea how bad we actually feel until we have a normal heart rate again. For me, I could feel the difference the moment I woke up in recovery. It was like mainlining caffeine. That was in 1994. My only regret since has been that I waited so long. I basically slept through two years that I could have been thriving. 

Don't overthink it. Anyone who's had a broken bone has hardware in them, it's not a big deal. Have you actually seen a pacer? I was surprised how small they are the first time I held one, they are very compact. 

There really are no bad ones. There aren't that many on the market, 4 main companies, and all of them are excellent. With very few exceptions, mostly in athletes who cycle, any of them will work well. 

Don't hesitate any longer.

by AgentX86 - 2022-04-29 23:01:18

It's really not 5hat complicated. Your quality of life has already taken a big hit. Waiting any longer may end it. Yeah, from what you say here, you'll probably have, perhaps extreme, anxiety after. Professional help can minimize your mental recovery.  Your physical recovery will be trivial. It really is minor surgery (like any surgery it's not without some risk).

Simple Bradycardia is the absolute easiest arrhythmia for a pacemakerto fix. It's really what they were invented for.

Just do it!

by DutchyDawg - 2022-04-30 00:05:02

I got mine in March for same reason, bradycardia.  I am so glad I did.  My heart was damaged by Covid and my average daily resting HR was down in the lower 40's. I am very active and this has made an incredible difference in my life.  I am back biking again and enjoying life.  
 

Just do it!

Go for it

by rocnrower - 2022-04-30 16:46:09

I am 67 (will be 68 this year). I had a Boston Scientific L331 Accolade implanted on December 29, 2021. I felt a significant improvement the day after the implant. I was diagnosed with SSS and Bradycardia (30 to 32 BPM). I am very active (rowing ergometer, walking, lots of physical activity around the house). After talking it over with my cardiologist, my EP, and most importantly, my wife, I made the choice to have quality of life rather than suffer the fatigue, shortness of breath, and the bradycardia. As others have said here on the forum there are days when I think about the PM and a majority of days where I do not think about it all. I would go for it. It has changed my life for the better.

Thanks for posting about your experience

by Dave C - 2022-04-30 20:09:21

I appreciate what each of you have said to me in responding to the original post.  All of your comments have been very helpful and have also stimulated more checking and re-reading of my notes.  My need to control everything and leave nothing to chance does have its drawbacks. It's exhausting.  The results of reading your comments and searching for more information has left me a bit more open to the whole idea of getting the PM.  In short I'm still undecided.  But, I thank you all for the selfless effort you put into describing your experience and giving me your encouragement.  Dave C

Pacemaker? What pacemaker?

by LondonAndy - 2022-05-01 04:13:25

In my case I didn't have anything wrong that needed a pacemaker to fix it until my heart's electrics were accidentally damaged during surgery to have an aortic valve replaced. That was in September 2014, with the pacemaker being inserted one week after the valve, and very much "the B movie" of my hospital experience.

It was several months into my recovery from the valve surgery that I thought: what do I need to know about pacemakers? I think this means that my life was going on the same as before I had a pacemaker, so in other words: it's no big deal to have one. And once the scar had healed  I rubbed Bio Oil into the wound daily for a few months, and at my annual checks even pacemaker technicians have to check which side it was implanted because you can hardly see it. I swim. I go through airports like any other passenger (ie no need to avoid the security arch). I just get on with my life.

So trust me: if you have it done, after a few weeks of recovery you will wonder why you ever had any doubts.

My need to control everything and leave nothing to chance does have its drawbacks. It's exhausting.

by Persephone - 2022-05-01 11:48:25

While more comments are not necessary considering the helpful feedback you've gotten so far, I would simply add - don't wait until your opportunity to control things is gone. I fully understand your concerns. Going in through the emergency room is a way to lose much of your control over the situation. Don't put yourself in that position if it's avoidable.

Control

by AgentX86 - 2022-05-03 22:58:41

Persephone,  You make an EXCELLENT point. Control can be in the form of something as "small" as next month or next hour. It could also be as important (to you) as implant location or the best pacemaker for YOUR lifestyle.

agree

by Tracey_E - 2022-05-04 09:51:18

I agree with Persephone. I was one of those people who waited and got it as an emergency. My rate plummeted one day and was 20 bpm when I was admitted. I didn't realize until later how close I was to dying. When your heart is that slow, it can simply stop.  Emergency surgery is most definitely not the easy way to do it. 

If you like control and minimal risk, then it seems to be the obvious choice is to get the pacer now when you can choose your doctor, your device, your timing. Not having it riskier, imo. 

You know you're wired when...

You can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.

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