New Pacemaker Complications

Hi Everyone, My name is John a 54 year old male and I am new to group. I received my pacemaker implant 3 weeks ago.

I am having 2 issues already;

1- Infection with discharge from implant site started heavy as mix of blood and fluids. Now it is slowed but showing green infection looking discharge which I am on antibiotics for since 5 days ago.

2- Pain under my left pectoral muscle which is no where near implant as that is on same side but just under collarbone.

As this group seems to be the best resource because we all have this new addition to our bodies.

I am going to Dr again on Tuesday, but wanted to get thoughts if this is normal.

* When I saw the doc last week he mentioned pretty quick they may have to extract, but put me on antibiotics. Is he hoping it will go away or just keeping under control?

I apologize for lengthy questions, but I am scared and any advice would be very much appreciated.

Thank You!


10 Comments

Infection

by Gemita - 2022-08-28 04:34:11

John,

You have been unlucky.  I am very sorry.  Infection is a risk with implant surgery but a potentially serious one.  An infection is never normal.

From your description, I am surprised that you are not being treated in hospital with intravenous antibiotics and having frequent blood checks instead of being on oral antibiotics at home.  Perhaps this suggests they feel your infection is contained within the wound area only?  I do sincerely hope so because otherwise the infection could spread quickly down the leads and to your heart. 

No they won't just keep a pacemaker infection under control if it has spread from the wound area to your device and leads.  Removal of your entire system will then become necessary because intravenous antibiotics and other treatments would not completely eradicate any infection at that stage.

Your pain may be normal at this early stage.  I had pain all across my entire collarbone.  Don't forget they feed leads into our veins during implant and this can traumatise the vascular system and even some of our delicate nerves in the area.  Icing may help or warmth from a warm water bottle I found helpful, or ask your doctor for better pain control.  My main concern though is for the infection.  If oozing increases or area looks more swollen or inflammed, please seek medical advice before Tuesday if necessary.  I wish you lots of luck and hope that this can be resolved quickly

Thank You So Much

by Johnnycali - 2022-08-28 05:48:27

You have know idea how much your kindness and knowledge has helped.

I agree and I may just go to Hosiptal in morning. The stress is killing me.

Thank you so much Gemita and I will post update when I get consult, which at this point I am going to be more assertive.

God Bless!

Infection following implant.

by Selwyn - 2022-08-28 07:06:49

Sorry to hear about your problems. Most unfortunate. I was given antibiotics at the time of my implant. 

Yes, infection is serious with an implant. This should be managed by a specialist. I hope wound swabs for bacterial culture were taken before the commencement of the antibiotic.

Pain under the arm would not be uncommon as the infection drains to the lymph glands there, they enlarge and are painful in the process. You also have lymph glands above and below your collar bones.

Hospital

by Lavender - 2022-08-28 10:47:30

I too was given iv antibiotics before leaving the hospital with my new pacemaker. 

I would go to the emergency room. This is nothing to play with. You've already been on antibiotics five days. Get specialist help. 

Been there done that

by ROBO Pop - 2022-08-30 17:29:55

Geez I'm sorry I just saw your post. I hope you already went to the emergency room!!! Your infection can be deadly. I went at the first sign of infection, was hospitalized for 2 weeks  and lost 6 months of my life not to mention the impact to my poor bride. Please when anyone sees seepage like that its an emergency, get immediate help !!

Update - Pacemaker Infection

by Johnnycali - 2022-08-31 00:59:03

This is John who posted the New Pacemaker Complications Questions.

First and foremost I Thank everyone who was kind enough to respond. Never before have I felt such concern and empathy from a group of wonderful people. For that I am truly blessed and pray all of you and your families are well.

Since I poste, I took your immediate advice and went to ER Sunday and sure enough found out through CAT Scan that I had fluid build up in my pacemaker pocket. My blood work came back looking good and no clear sign of infection Ad I was told.

My heart rate, temp, blood pressure and pacemaker were all told to be fine.

I was given something for the terrible pain and nausea I was feeling and sent home, as I told the ER doc I was scheduled to see my cardiologist Tuesday which was today.

Needless to say the last 2 days felt like to months with anxiety and stress.

My Cardioligist reviewed everything and spent literally an hour with my wife and I going through all data and checking A-Z. 

He Mentioned that he is a bit puzzled about what he sees, a situation where wound is slowly healing, fluid build up in pocket and leakage from implant site.

All signs of infection except the puzzling part is that he is surprised I have not gone back into Afib, my blood work shows everything in normal range and nothing that demonstrates infection. So like infection but can not diagnose infection which was confirmed by my Primary as well today.

So the plan now is that he wants me to finish antibiotic which is another 4 days, Monitor all vitals from home 3x per day and see him weekly.

After 4 days off of antibiotic he then wants to run blood panel to see if anything was being masked and of course if anything prior to that feels abnormal call and go to hospital.

Today was a stressful day and again I admit I am scared. He said very clearly that if anything changes he will be performing a pacemaker extraction and re-implant 1-2 weeks after extraction.

From what I understand since my pacemaker is now only 1 month old that it is much lower risk than if it had been in for longer period of time.

And this is where I am and what I know so far...

Again, I can't Thank everyone enough and always open to feedback as my head is still spinning...

I always like to think positive and I take 2 great things away from this experience... 

This group who has restored my belief in just god hearted(pun intended) people that now I am a part of I hope for a very long time.

The second is appreciating my wonderful wife and daughters even more than I though possible. I will never waste time on the small stuff or let work take any time away from them ever again and instead focus on the positive people in my life.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!

Prayers for you, John

by Lavender - 2022-08-31 09:32:11

I'm so glad you sought attention and they're closely monitoring your situation. I'm glad your family is a source of strength and inspiration!

May God heal you and keep you from all worry and anxiety. May He surround you with perfect peace and bring you to full recovery quickly. 
 

Isaiah 41:13 

For I am the Lord your God

    who takes hold of your right hand

and says to you, Do not fear;

    I will help you.

 

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;

6  in all your ways submit to him,

    and he will make your paths straight.

 

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength,

    an ever-present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging....

another blood test

by new to pace.... - 2022-08-31 20:57:07

You might ask for a Sedimentation Rate-Waterman.  that is also a test to see if one has an infection someplace.  I had one done becuase  was having a problem with my vision.  Was high in May, after  4 months it is finally in range.

new to pace

Allergy to pacemaker metals?

by Lavender - 2022-09-01 02:30:49

I was thinking that you might be one of those with a rare allergic reaction to the pacemaker metal. It mimics infection. 
copy and paste this article to read about it:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4761587/

here is another article:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4485204/

Reply to my original post

by Johnnycali - 2022-09-02 23:27:58

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to Thank everyone again for your help, kind words and Prayers!

I am sure you do know how much this has helped me during this time...

I will keep you updated on my Weekly Cardioligist appointments. 

Thank You All and God Bless!!!

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