Newbie

Hello, new to the forum and just thought I'd post my experience with having a PM insertion 5 days ago.

Having always suffered all my life (I'm 51) from SVT I was offered an ablation back in 2014 this procedure was unsuccessful due to the pathway being to close to the AV node and it was high risk that the AV node would become permanently damaged, the procedure was aborted and I decided just to plod on with my condition until now.

I was admitted 5days ago for another ablation procedure knowing the risk of coming out of the theatre with a pacemaker insertion due to damage to the AV Node.

During the procedure two ablations were carried out, first successful and the second damaged my AV node causing heart block at which point I blacked out and woke up an hour later with a pacemaker.

Since leaving hospital I have developed bad bruising to my groin where the wires were inserted and obviously I have pain in my left hand side chest where the PM was inserted.

Since surgery I feel weak, shaky, unsteady on my feet, lightheaded, shortness of breath and have a sensation of tightness in my throat and chest when bending and lying in bed, I have also experienced palpations and heart flutters.

I find it really hard to get comfy in bed and have been suffering from sleep deprivation and stiffness in my chest, arm where my PM has been inserted and groin area.

I spoke to my local GP yesterday and he prescribed some pain killers and sedative to help me sleep.

I'm hoping these symptoms are just a natural way my body is reacting to the recovery of the procedure and things will get better over time.

I have found the procedure and at this point of recovery a bit traumatic and the thought of now having 3rd degree heart block a bit worrying.

Suppose I'm just looking for some reassurance from other members that have had similar experiences that things do get better and being dependant on a PM isn't a bad thing.

Thank simon

 

 

 


7 Comments

Hi Simon!

by Lavender - 2022-07-09 09:41:05

Your story sounds like quite the unpleasant adventure! I'm glad you found this club, the club that no one wanted to be in, but here we are! 
 

I felt a lot like you did when I left the hospital with my pacemaker. My throat and neck, shoulder, left upper area felt sore and I wondered if I would ever feel normal again. When I leaned over my throat felt worse.
 

Sleeping was a challenge because there was no good way to lie down. I had been a left side sleeper. I learned to hold a small pillow over the pacemaker area. I still do that even though I have had the pacemaker almost 17 months. It's reassuring to me to cushion the pacemaker with a pillow as I lie on my right side. I also put a pillow between my knees if lying on my side.  If I lie on my back, I slip a pillow under my knees. So I have 3 pillows I sleep with-one under head, one supports the back either under or between the knees, and the small one hugs my pacemaker.  
 

Ice helped me. I have a couple soft ice packs. I put one alongside the left neck laying on the shoulder or on the upper back, opposite the pacemaker. Be sure not to put it on bare skin. Put a dish towel or cloth between the ice and the skin. Only leave it on about fifteen minutes at a time. Can do that often.
 

Keeping moving your arm or it will get stiffer. Don't raise it above your shoulder but turn and twist it, and use it. 
 

They way you feel is just for now-not forever. Your body is adjusting as it heals. Your heart might feel like it's pounding. I was so used to a slow heart beat, that I felt like I was on a ton of caffeine with all the PVCs .  The pacemaker was turned up for the first month until the leads had more tissue grow around them. 
 

Rest. Be good to yourself...listen to comfort music and meditation tapes to take you away. There're several YouTube meditations that talk you to sleep. I listened to those daily. I prefer ones by Michael Sealey. Copy and paste this into your browser:

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC9GoqHypa-SDrGPMyeBkjKw

or this:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rCGGIK0oPkQ

We have all been where you are in various levels of recovery.  In time you will heal and life will be *normal*  and better!

I think it was about six weeks into healing when I started seeing a licensed massage therapist who loosened up my arm. I still see her every two weeks.

Cyber hugs, Simon, may your healing be swift and complete!❤️‍🩹☮️

 

New pacemaker

by AgentX86 - 2022-07-09 11:25:25

Hi Simon, Your symptoms are on the bad side of normal but not unheard of.  Bruising of the leg is pretty normal.  It shouldn't happen but many things shouldn't happen, but do. (Bad) Luck of the draw.

It's not unusual to have palpatations right after heart surgery.  It sometimes takes the heart a while get over the trauma of the procedure and to get used to being paced. It's pissed off and will let you know it.  This should go away quickly.  Your dizzyness and SOB should be reported to your doctors.  It's probably normal but it should be checked out in case it isn't.

If it makes you feel any better (it won't), I had the same thing done but the AV node was ablated away intentionally. The reasons may differ but the end result is more or less the same, except that I no longer have any atrial function (again, intentionally).

I found that sleeping in a recliner was easier.  I tend to be a side sleeper (either/both) and also on my left chest.  I slept in a recliner for five months after my CABG surgery and two after my PM implant.  I didn't really could have gotten away with four weeks, or so, but didn't want to take chances rolling around on it.

Fortunately, I didn't really have any adverse reactions to my surgery.  Apparently you've not been so fortunate.  Sorry to hear that but it does get better.  Sooner than you can now imagine, you'll forget that you even have a pacemaker.  Yeah, you'll remember it when something weird happens but you only remember your little toe when you slam it into the bed leg.

Hi lavendar

by Sime - 2022-07-09 11:30:07

Thanks so much for the reassuring post, really pleased it's a positive one.

I'm hoping things will improve as I currently feel I've been knocked of my feet by a truck.

I know things will get better, I was just a bit worried the the symptoms I have may be longer term but it seems life can only get better.

When I bend over I get a sore tight throat and chest and out of breath sensation, light headed and a wee bit dizzy and most of my body especially my lower back aches but I'm putting this down to discomfort in bed.

Currently taking co codamol for the aches and promethazine to help sleep which seem to ease the discomfort and restless nights.

I suppose to me who has never broke a bone, only ever had a cold, never been hospitalised and always been active it's a bit of a shock knowing I have a pacemaker keeping my heart in check but hopefully it will just be the norm as time goes by.

Hopefully I will gain more knowledge of  procedures requiring pacemakers and understand others experiences as it's all new to me at the minute and other than being told by my consultant that there was a high risk of me needing a PM my knowledge is very thin on the ground.

So many thanks for the reply (1st one I've had lol) and the kind words.

Ps many thanks for the links on YouTube.

Take care x

Also…😉

by Lavender - 2022-07-09 12:14:53

Simon-your brain is working 😜it's a bit complex signing up here and realizing you don't get a verification email and somehow you make it through the maze to the gathering!  See how you're looking for answers and reassurance? That's a very positive sign of a person who's fighting back and going to get through this thing. 
 

I wanted to address this that you said: "I have found the procedure and at this point of recovery a bit traumatic and the thought of now having 3rd degree heart block a bit worrying."

 I am no longer concerned about the third degree heart block I have.  My CRT-P is bridging that gap. It's more reliable than my heart has been since 2010.

 It certainly HAS been traumatic for you. After I got my pacemaker device, I was stumbling along and wondering about my mortality, the discomfort and what about my future.  I walked next door to my neighbor who has a pacemaker. I asked him about his recovery. He said he was on his second pacemaker in fifteen years and he can't remember the recovery. He said he never thinks about it and forgets he has one. 
 

I was stunned because here I was wanting this thing out of me, and upset at my situation. I know that most people don't have this much recovery with it. It's a commonplace thing to get pacemakers these days. I think those who have more trouble dealing with the pain both-emotional and physical-are most likely to show up here for answers. 
 

They should give out a complete manual but I only left the hospital with two pages of instruction. The only medication suggested was 650mg Tylenol four times a day. I learned everything else here.  I'm a natural remedy person because I react poorly to most medications so prayer, meditation, ice and heat are my go to's. Mind over matter. I recalled reading about surgeries done while a person was hypnotized. Our brains can be trained to focus on other things and minimize the pain. 
 

My neck bothered me a long time with an awful fullness feeling, sometimes sudden sharp jabs. I blamed it on them going into the vein. 
 

"During transvenous implantation, the cardiologist will make a 5 to 6cm (about 2 inch) cut just below your collarbone, usually on the left side of the chest, and insert the wires of the pacemaker (pacing leads) into a vein.

The pacing leads are guided along the vein into the correct chamber of your heart using X-ray scans. They then become lodged in the tissue of your heart."

To me, that means trauma to the vein and swelling etc during healing as well as nerves which are moved or pinched and need healing time. The heart is a muscle which has been poked. Like AgentX86 said-it's not a happy camper. 
 

Everything will calm. I too used to feel weak and woozy and violated. I took daily naps as I fell asleep to meditation tapes.
 

One day, I noticed I was feeling better.  Seven months later, I was thinking I finally let down my guard and resumed normal life. I was angry with my body for failing and angry about a lot of the medical mishaps and delays that increased my time of suffering. I've never had a broken bone either.  However, I have gone through childbirth, gallbladder surgery, and the most painful thing-pericarditis at the same time as costochondritis (inflamed rib cartilage), as well as two episodes of sciatica. Sleeping in a recliner caused one of the sciatica episodes. So, for me, lying with the knee pillow support is best. I still avoid the recliner except for short stints. 
 

My cardiologist says that I am fixed. My body is again working well. My mind has healed but I won't forget. Lol I do think of my pacemaker but not all the time. It's no longer my enemy. I trust it now. 
 

Be patient with yourself. Your personality already shows me your determination to get better and you will! 

5 days out

by Persephone - 2022-07-09 12:21:55

Hi Sime - I hope you're feeling better and better with each day. Let me ask you this one rhetorical question - if someone you cared about had surgery 5 days ago, would you expect them to just pop back up and go about their normal lives? Probably not. Take it easy on yourself. Keep up the fluids - it's very easy to get dehydrated after surgery. Rest when you can, even if it means taking time away from your job and normal routine. You deserve time to heal.

Newbie

by skigrl3 - 2022-07-09 21:20:26

Hi Newbie.

I am a few days short of 8 weeks post pm insertion. The first week was a total disaster. I kept passing out in the hospital and they kept saying that clinically it was ok and I could go home (another disaster).. First 1.5 weeks short of breath. I am an exercise freak so this was very bad for me. At around 2.5 weeks post., I started feeling better. Very even keel, and if I felt faint it was only fleeting.

I have had bradycardia my whole life as well as with some VT and SVT. I now believe this was the right thing to do. I hope you stick with this and are well. Take care and it will get better. Please believe that, listen to what the others say here.

 

Complete heart block

by JP2U - 2022-07-18 08:28:01

Hi Simon,

I have a complete heart block. The cardiologist believe a virus attacked my heart and created scar tissue between the top atrium and the ventricles. So it turned out I needed a pacemaker at the age of 43. I will say I'm on my second battery and it takes me about 7 to 14 days to recover. So follow all that advice about giving yourself time to heal and baby yourself allowing your body to adjust to your pacemaker and protecting your it.  After I had my pacemaker installed and I healed, I felt so much better. no more fainting, my pulse went up from 26 to a steady rate of 63. Yay. I felt like I got my health back. Taking care of the area around the Pacemaker & the pacemaker is work, but it is worth it.  
 

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