Pacemaker now set at 70

I am a 68-year-old male with a fib but also had a three lead pacemaker inserted about six months ago. I got Covid,eventhough I was vaccinated, and some doctors think that it blew out my electrical system.  I have Complete heart block I am I am 100% dependent on the pacemaker.

My pacemaker was orginally set at a low end of 80. And my heart stayed  that way pretty much all the time unless I try to exercise it'll go to 115 120 which the a fib makes difficult once I stop then I'll drop right back down to 80. I don't have tachycardia like I used since they implanted the pacemaker.

So for the last couple of months 80 was my low cruising BPM. It pretty much stays that way pretty much all the time even with a fib. 

But I felt that 80 was too high. Was having a little trouble falling asleep so I asked the pacemaker EP to drop it down to 70. Besides keeping me up I also felt that you have so many ticks in the heart and by slowing it down a little bit maybe that would increase my longevity. I know it sounds crazy but just a thought. Anyway the doctor said ok and the tech humored me and lowered it to 70. I'm feeling really good. I'm just curious does anyone have any thoughts on what are the pros or cons that I may get by dropping my low rate to 70 vs 80? The tech said it shouldn't make a difference

I'm also having an ablation done in June to get rid of a fib and so I can exercise. I've had two a ablations years ago that did not hold. I've been told that the pacemaker has nothing to do with a fib but I have to say that I've had virtually zero unprovoked high heart rates since they implanted it. But I am still in a fib and I still get out of breath after walking 100 yards.

Just want to get thoughts on what I should expect with a lower rate rate at 70 vs 80 and any thoughts on getting an ablation with a pacemaker.


7 Comments

How do you feel?

by LondonAndy - 2022-05-12 22:23:29

Has the lower rate helped you sleep better? I am sure someone with more knowledge than me will be able to explain why different rates are set (mine is 60bpm minimum), but we're all different so probably the most important thing is to see how you feel. 

80bpm vs. 70bpm

by AgentX86 - 2022-05-12 23:09:28

Anndy asked the only question that really matters.

No, you won't live longer with a lower heart rate.  you don'thave only so many clicks in life. If your heart stopped would you live forever?

My resting rate during the day is 80bpm. My EP said there was a high incidence of SCA after AV ablation but that a raised rate for a few months mitigated the problem. The plan was to drop it 10bpm each month after. When they dropped it to 70bpm I started getting bad runs of bigeminal PVCs. They were miserable so my hr was set back to 80. Like you, I had hard time sleeping at 80bpm so they gave me a nighttime of 50bpm. It works but time changes are a little bit of a problem. I haven't traveled to Europe but I image I'd have a real problem.

Bottom line, if it works for you, go with it.

Thank you

by Jimmy S - 2022-05-13 00:01:42

Thank you very Interesting! Can they set 60 Bpm for night and 70 during day?

I have no impulse so no need for AV node ablation but a fib ablation is what I'm going on for.

No set count

by Theknotguy - 2022-05-13 07:51:45

It was an old wives' tale about people having a set number of heart beats.  Doctors estimate now that people can live up to ages of 110 to 120.  And we've recently seen in the news of a person living to age 110.  There is no reason why we, with the pacemakers, can't live a "normal" life span.  I know it's hard to get that idea of a limited life out of your mind but you should.

I too have afib.  Due to Metoprolol and settings on my Medtronic pacemaker I get along very well.  You can live a  "normal" life even with afib.  I got my second pacemaker just recently and they didn't set it correctly.  I was hanging on the fence gasping for air while trying to mow my lawn and was thinking they didn't get the settings right.  Went in to have my pacemaker re-set and my tech told me I was gasping for air because, 1) they didn't have the pacemaker set right, and 2) I had been in afib for three days.  Talking with my EP, he said there was no reason for getting an ablation because I was getting on so well in spite of the afib and I wouldn't feel any different if they did an ablation. In other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  Ablation technology has come a long way in the last ten years, so I hope your ablation will help with your afib.  If your EP thinks the ablation will help I wouldn't argue too long.  While I didn't get the ablation, my wife did, and she's gotten along fine for years with hers.

My settings on heart rate are 70 during the daytime and a sleep setting that allows me to drop down to 50 while sleeping.  Since sleep apnea goes along with heart problems I get along fine with those settings and using my CPAP at night.  I don't know why your EP has your heart rate set to 80 - which would be a high rate for me - but that's why those guys get paid the big bucks.  

In addition to listening to the EPs and techs, you'll also have to listen to your body and see what feels good for you.  I hope things continue to go well for you with your pacemaker.

Oh, and I'm 100% dependent upon my pacemaker too.  You get used to it after a while.  Best wishes.

Lots in common

by Jimmy S - 2022-05-13 09:41:12

Tie the not

Wow your heart experience sound a lot like mine! I too had issues when they originally put in my pace maker. Was at hospital not my Dr. After three weeks They put in a two lead the first time not a three lead. Three lead works better. I two have sleep apnea but wear a dental appliance. I too take Metoprerol twice a day. And finally I too have A fib!!! Unfortunately I have the Abbott pacemaker. My buddy was the Abbot sales guy and I tol Dr to put it in. I will not be happy if I find out that Abbotts doesn't have the ability to change settings at night like yours.  Anyway you are correct about Aint broke don't fix it. I'm not reall that broke. When I sit around I'm fine. Don't have any Afib Tachracardia (sp) I actually feel pacemaker helped that. But I get really winded easily from a fib. Ex college athlete hard to sit around so hopefully I get approved for the ablation. Will keep you posted..

Night mode

by AgentX86 - 2022-05-14 00:26:17

Not all pacemakers have this option. Likely many device techs don't know it's there even when it is. It's not normally used, probably because device techs don't know it's there. ;-)

This is another reason to find the manual for your pacemaker model. I don't know about Abbott but Medtronic has all of theirs online.

Thank You!

by Jimmy S - 2022-05-14 00:49:15

I spoke to my EP tech. And yes my pacemaker has rest setting where my rate can drop to 55 when I'm sleeping but it is turned off. Being I am having an ablation hopefully next month. so they want to leave it off till then. But I have to tell you that's why this forum is so beneficial because I would never of known about the rest mode! Thank you all who responded back to me!!

 

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As for my pacemaker (almost 7 years old) I like to think of it in the terms of the old Timex commercial - takes a licking and keeps on ticking.