Short tachycardia episodes following pacemaker
Can I get some thoughts from people? The bottom line is my husband and I are trying to make a decision about whether it is sensible/safe for me to travel to the other side of the world on a six week holiday to Europe in October – 6 months post pacemaker insert and 12 months post SVT surgery. Tickets are in short supply which is why we are making a decision so early if some are wondering.
The backstory is that my SVT ablation for tachycardia was successful. I had been apparently experiencing tachycardia my whole life according to the surgeon. Once the tachycardia was solved bradycardia issue began to take centre stage. It too was there by the time the tachycardia was diagnosed and the theory was that it may improve post ablation – it didn’t – the persistent tachycardia over the years had damaged the sinus node. Now I have a pacemaker as of 8 weeks ago.
My surgery is healing well and I’m seeing an exercise physiologist and making good progress.
Since the pacemaker I’ve had 3 relatively short tachycardia episodes - 5-30secs up to 170bpm – all three stopped me in my tracks. I had to close my eyes, sit down, I felt dizzy, my husband could see there was something was wrong and hoped they’d stop and of course they did. My pacemaker monitoring didn’t alarm my cardiologist practice - I suspect because the episodes were so short. I am currently paced at about 80% of the time with a dual chamber Medtronic Azure DR MRI SureScan 60-130bpm. By the way I can feel it working almost all of the time – a bit weird but I guess I’ll get used to it.
I had one tachycardia episode by the time of my review with my cardiologist. He wasn’t worried at all and said he would only look at it if they ran for about 20mins – which is weird to me because my original tachy episodes were always short. At the same appointment I flagged that I was planning my trip and he said to go. Then after another two episodes that occurred on consecutive days after my appointment at about a week later, I followed up with the practice nurse and she said that I could expect some tachy episodes but if they become more frequent and intolerable let them know and they might modify the treatment.
Have others had this experience and is it normal and nothing to worry about? Am I just settling into the world of pacemakers and I should chill out? Is my pacemaker preventing a full blown tachy episode given the shortness of time that they are occurring – it’s dual chamber and adjusts according to my activity? If they were going to ‘modify my treatment’ what do you think that would that entail? Would you travel 20 hours to another county if you were still having short tachy episodes?