Pacemaker

Hello Dear Friends,

I had my Pacemaker installed yesterday and everything was said to have gone fine and was sent home yesterday itself.  I had pain and redness in the installed area for which I was told to take Tylenol and did so a couple of times last evening/night.  This morning I feel OK with my heartbeat etc. except the installed area (left side of upper chest) is swollen and also I noticed the fingers on the left arm and left ankle area are a bit swollen...not sure if this is something one has to expect as I have never had a Pacemaker installed before.  I have called the hospital and waiting to hear back but in the meantime thought of checking here to see if anyone can comment to put my mind at ease.....thanks very much in advance!


5 Comments

Mark your skin at biceps and measure/record the circumference

by crustyg - 2022-08-19 12:32:34

It would be wise - as you say left fingers are swollen - to check and record the circumference of your L resting bicep.  Every 12hours or so, and if three measurements show a steady increase, and it's clearly larger than your R side (same measurement) head to the ED.

L ankle area: if all you had done was a PM+lead implantation then it's not easy to see how this can be connected (yes, alright if there are lots of other symptoms as well).

There's usually quite a lot of swelling after PM implantation and it should go down over the next couple of days.

Re. Mark your skin at biceps and measure/record the circumference

by Cathysam - 2022-08-19 14:43:40

@crustyg - Thanks very much for the advice!

Early Recovery

by Maisy - 2022-08-21 13:23:26

Hi Cathysam....

Hope you're feeling a bit better today. I am exactly one month ahead of you with my pacemaker and I absolutely identify with your early recovery symptoms. I had significant swelling at the incision site, and all colors of the rainbow. My left breast was tender and swollen, visibly larger than the right. I had underarm pain and swelling and the entire area just plain HURT! I had one oxy the first night in the hospital as the numbing drug wore off at the site, and I came home with a prescription for a few more low-dose oxy+tylenol which I took at night for three days. Tylenol and ice packs were very helpful during the day. Ice was my friend for sure; I think the pain I experienced was mostly from swelling and inflamation. In the first week I was not without an ice pack. My discomfort situation was exacerbated, I think, by the breast swelling and pain, which affected my ability to get comfortable on either side for sleeping.

I share this all because I was completely blindsided by the amount of pain I had in the first week, and the (reduced for sure) but continuing discomfort through these 4-5 weeks following. The procedure and "fix" for my condition (AV block, alternating branch blocks) was presented as quick and simple with "soreness" in the chest area to be expected.

Lavender, Gemita, and others on this site helped me see that everyone's experience is different and we all heal differently. Normalizing my experience was invaluable, as was reading the oft-mentioned survey results.

At almost five weeks post-op, I am SO much better, but I can surely say that my surgery healing (both incision and surrounding tissue) took a good while. I am still feeling tenderness at the site at this moment, but not to the degree that it impairs my functioning or requires tylenol or ice packs. It's just an awareness of an injury/bruise/cut healing and not completely back to normal. But it's clear that I am not done healing.

I do hope you spoke with a care provider regarding the arm and ankle swelling, though. When you're up to it, let us know what they said, and how you're doing.

In the meantime, do take good care of yourself in all areas: heart, soul, mind, body. Hydration is key, as is REST! This procedure is surely simple in the scope of heart or other surgeries, but that does not mean that our bodies have not endured a physical trauma nonetheless.

Sending you good energies for healing and allowing yourself the care you need and deserve.

Recovery, Early Recovery

by Cathysam - 2022-08-22 16:16:38

Thanks very much Angry Sparrow and Maisy for sharing your experiences and providing me with some comfort.  Happy to say the swelling of the left ankle and left-hand fingers subsided within like two days.  Only the incision area is still red and a bit swollen.  Tomorrow I have my first post-insertion visit at the Arrhythmia section of the hospital where I think they will check out what's needed and also take out the plastic-looking tapes over the incision area.   Many thanks again everyone... will keep you posted!

Swelling

by Kellygirl - 2022-08-27 16:11:09

I too had swelling in my fingers and my lower neck area. Its been 7 days and I still can't see my collarbone just above where my PM was put in. I also had swollen calves and ankles. I felt awful. But now just one week later, the swelling in my ankles and calves is gone, and I can get my rings on my fingers. I still can't see my collarbone but I guess it will come with time. 
My husband who has had numerous surgeries, said that after a surgical procedure the body has a histamine reaction which can cause swelling. I'm assuming that's what happened. I just go day by day and jot down any concerns to discuss with my doc. 
I'm wishing you all the best ❤️

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