Left handed tennis and pickleball player

I had the pacemaker installed in my left shoulder. I didn't realize until recently  there was an option to install on the non-dominant side. So can I play tennis or pickleball ever again? The serving motion in tennis seems particularly stressful on the pacemaker leads. Anyone in the same situation as me?


Yes you will play again

by IAN MC - 2022-05-21 12:50:07

I play tennis and golf .Both sports need a minimum of 8 weeks of cautious play before you can fully extend your PM arm.

There is an amount of slack  built Into your leads  which makes full arm extension possible. 

Try serving underarm at first  ,  then gradually progress towards a normal service..It is a great shame that you didn't have your PM implant on the other side.  Best of luck.


You'll be good to go

by Persephone - 2022-05-21 16:08:28

There are no regrets in PM placement (to borrow heavily from the "A League of Their Own" film). Upon replacement years down the road, you can ask to have it put on the other side. Keep up the sports (gently for now, as Ian Mc advises) and enjoy.


by AgentX86 - 2022-05-21 19:08:51

Your surgeon should have known that you were a lefty, IMO. It's not usually real big deal but might be at some point. I see you had your implant this year (not clear exactly when) but they'll usually want you to wait three to six months before a full golf swing or tennis service. Ask your EP for guidance.


Ask your EP.

by PacedNRunning - 2022-05-22 01:56:40

I say ask your EP. I was given the all clear at 5 weeks post op to golf and play all other sports and weight lifting. I had very lax post op restrictions. It really depends on the type of lead they use. Some are screwed into the heart. Some are not. New studies show arm restrictions are not necessary. As long as your not reaching really high over your head, it's fine. So ask your EP. Type of lead and placement matters. I do not have slack as my leads don't require slack. My EP knew I was very active and places the leads the via the cephalic vein which causes less stress when your active. I'm 3.5 years post op and doing fine. I do volleyball which require upper body motion. My PM does not get in my way. 


by AgentX86 - 2022-05-22 19:02:58

Paced, there isn't much in this world that causes someone to reach higher than a tennis service. The whole body is stretched as far as it can go, and then some. It's a pretty brutal motion, probably similar to a professional baseball pitch except that only professionals pitch at 90+ MPH. A full golf swing is pretty brutal, too. I'd really be surprised if any EP would recommend these motions at five weeks.  Most have the PM on their non-dominant side so these issues don't come up often.

But you're right.  Clear this with your EP.  Anything this stressful should be brought to the EPs attention.

Follow up

by Hbcapital - 2022-05-24 17:55:00

I spoke to the EP today. First off, they only install the pacemaker on the left side regardless of your handiness.  Secondly, they have no restrictions after 6-8 weeks.

I am 5 1/2 weeks since the surgery but I think I will take the advice of other doctors of patients on this forum and wait at least 3 months for golf and pickleball. I still haven't decided if I want to risk serving overhand in tennis.

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