Talked to my EP on Tuesday and discussing symptoms so I told him that I am having funny episodes of a racing heart beat in the shower. I have tried turning the heat down and still getting it and it's not something that happens at the beginning of the shower, it's towards the end. So after a bit of discussion about that it turns out that when I'm washing my hair,the vigorous movements of my arms is setting off my rate response setting and it thinks I'm running 🤣 I've been trying to figure that out for weeks! He says my rate response setting is a bit turbocharged and needs dialled down a bit. So I might have a very clever pacemaker but it's not that clever 🤣

Who knew! 


A turbo charged pacemaker

by Gemita - 2022-09-15 06:38:20

Oh you need to give me your magic rate response (RR) setting Toni.  My RR hasn't made an ounce of difference so far.  Beginning to wonder if it was ever turned on but will find out when I return to clinic on 5th October.  From what others tell us here, RR can be very sensitive to movement, so I can understand what you are saying.   I hope your RR can be adjusted sooner than your next clinic appointment in December?

Raising my arms and keeping them raised for short periods of time has in the past triggered symptoms of breathlessness and irregular heart rhythms.  If there is already a problem with circulation of our blood say as might occur during an arrhythmia like AF, when we raise our arms our heart has to work even harder to pump blood.  We may then experience increased heart rates to compensate, to try to keep our blood flowing especially to the brain.  That is my personal take on it anyway.  

RR can be difficult to adjust to suit our personal needs and may require lots of fine tuning.  My technician was also concerned in case turning on my RR triggered increased arrhythmias, so this will be a learning process for me too


by Lavender - 2022-09-15 10:26:44

So you're getting your exercise in the shower! Multitasking and working that heart out! Lovin' it🤣

Hair washing

by Persephone - 2022-09-15 11:00:05

Hmm... maybe your finding explains why I haven't been able to tolerate washing my hair in the shower any more - I have had to go to the "bend over the side of the bathtub and use the handheld shower head" method which makes it more of a horizontal activity compared to standing. Hmm... Thanks for sharing your experience!

I Think It Must Be A Balance

by Marybird - 2022-09-15 14:03:15

For rate response settings, between being able to increase the heart rate appropriately for increased activities, and not going overboard with inappropriately increased heart rates when the person isn't that active. 

I recall my daughter had the rate response set most likely too high when she got her first pacemaker- she wanted to be able to do ballet and other strenuous activities, so I guess they went for broke on the settings. As a result, her heart rate would climb up to well over 100 with almost any activity, standing up, bending over, anything and this wasn't the way to go either. They finally got her on a treadmill and adjusted the rate response as she ran on that. It was better, though she says she has never gotten great results from the rate response during ballet or when she is walking, certainly not on the elliptical. She has learned to live with it now, though. 

On the other hand, the rate response setting on her old lady mother, the turtle's pacemaker ( that'd be me). I have no idea where the setting for said rate response would be, the EP turned it on and had it set during my 6week post pacer implant checkup. Wherever it's set, though, it seems just fine to me, and I have noticed it has made a huge difference in my being able to carry out moderately intense activities, compared with the rate response turned off. I recall before I got the pacemaker, I was hard pressed to get my heart rate above the low 50's no matter what I was doing ( household chores, washing windows, gardening, picking up yard debris), and when I stopped for a bit the heart rate would drop into the low 40's, and I felt exhausted, outof breath and like I was moving through molasses. Post-pacemaker, with the rate response turned on, when I checked my heart rate ( just for curiosity and the joy of seeing a normal heart rate), I'd see it in the 70's to high 80's depending on the activity, and I felt infinitely better, more energetic. 

Even with the dramatic improvement thanks to the rate response, there are a few tradeoffs. Sometimes the rate response kicks in when you don't need it. I often notice when I flip over to my right side in bed at night, my heart rate goes up over 100, it does the same thing when I rock in a rocking chair, or ride over bumpy roads. It doesn't last long, though, and I wouldn't want the settings adjusted to mitigate these rate-control tachy runs, as I find the settings just fine for my everyday activities.

There is a caveat to this, though. My rate response settings are fine for me, but probably would be too low for someone who is a lot more active than I am. I'll never be a marathon runner/swimmer/bicyclist, and its a good thing, because I take fairly high doses of heart rate control medication ( metroprolol, diltiazem) to control my aFib and other tachycardias, so it seems these will trump any rate control setting, and the docs have told me they don't want my heart rate going over 110 and it won't even during exercise- unless there is an aFib breakthrough or something. I just mention this as its possible medication may affect the heart's response to rate control functions.


by AgentX86 - 2022-09-15 15:04:12

I'm with Gemita. Give my device tech your settings! I have mine set to the most sensitive and fastest response available but it's not enough for me. I certainly don't get a thrill in the shower.

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