Hello all,

first of all I have a confession. It is my father who has the pacemeaker and not myself.

I am on this forum just trying to find out some answers, about lifeafter having a pacemaker fitted.

We have heard stories about people noticing the improvement straight away after having a pacemaker fitted so I guess thats what we were hoping for but to be honest 4 weeks post implant and he is just the same.

Another confession is he is 89 years old so we may have been expecting miracles, he has already had a triple heart bypass around 20 years ago.

I think I have lots to try and learn, any comments would be so welcome.






Post implant

by piglet22 - 2023-03-26 07:51:20


89 years is a great age and by then, you can expect to pick up quite a few problems.

Your father's clinicians have obviously decided that a pacemaker is the way to go and four weeks is early days.

Yes some conditions do respond immediately to pacemakers, especially where the normal electrical signals that control the heart have failed.

It may be that the pacemaker is there to take some strain off your father's heart and there may not be changes that you see but rather it is helping in the background and stopping things getting worse.

As others will tell you, do ask your father's GP or get back to the cardiac department who did the diagnosis and implant. You might have to be firm and ask specifically why your father was fitted with a pacemaker.

One thing you will find by using this forum you will get a lot of useful advice and experiences shared by others, and your father is part of a very large group of patients who are in the same boat. You are certainly not on your own.

Good luck keep informed and I hope your father continues to keep well.

Welcome to you both

by Gemita - 2023-03-26 08:27:02

Kev, first of all welcome to you and to your father.  It is difficult to know how to respond since we do not know the reason for your father’s pacemaker.  I will assume at 89 years of age that he has a slow heart beat (Bradycardia) or has some sort of heart block, or his doctors want to give him medication to control a fast heart beat which might then lower his heart rate to dangerously low levels without the support of a pacemaker;   or perhaps his heart disease requires the support of a pacemaker?

Whatever the reason for your father’s pacemaker, it cannot cure old age, or reverse his years, although once healed which can take anything up to a few months depending on other health conditions, he should begin to feel better with a higher, steady heart rate.  

At 74, I have more energy from a steady, higher heart rate, I no longer suffer from low body temperature, from a falling heart rate or other symptoms like breathlessness and fatigue and I no longer have intermittent fainting episodes.  Similarly, my husband who is 84 has had success with his pacemaker.  He was like your father, expecting miracles from his pacemaker, but in many respects he has received miracles because he no longer collapses or falls to the ground when he has dizzy spells, so the pacemaker has given both of us peace of mind.  

The pacemaker implant procedure while not a major intervention, will clearly affect an 89 year man more than a younger person, so allowances need to be made, but once your father is well healed and his heart has got used to pacing, he should slowly be able to do more.  Depending on what your father could do before his pacemaker, he should be able to do the same after his pacemaker but with more energy and in safety.  Clearly if he was unable to exert himself before his pacemaker, it will take time for him to recover his strength and he might need to work with a cardiac physiotherapist to achieve this.

So Kev, over to you, would you care to share with us your father’s reason for his pacemaker?  Do you know for example the type of pacemaker your father has:  single lead, dual lead, CRT (three lead) and whether he has a Defibrillator as well?  My husband and I both have Sick Sinus Syndrome and some intermittent heart blocks.  My husband has a single lead pacemaker and I have a dual lead Medtronic pacemaker implanted the same year (2018).  My husband has coronary artery disease and heart failure.  My heart is structurally sound (no blocked arteries) but I do have lots of arrhythmias (electrical disturbances)

magic wand

by Tracey_E - 2023-03-26 09:30:31

The pacer is not a cure all. It will make the heart beat faster, so any symptoms he had related to a low heart rate should be better now. If he's not feeling better, I would reach out to his doctor and see if the doctor's expectations match yours. Sometimes pacing makes us safer but not necessarily feeling better. 

Pacemaker Card

by Penguin - 2023-03-26 11:48:21

Hi Kev, 

If you look at your father's pacemaker ID card (it will have been provided to him after the pacemaker was implanted), it may list the reason for his pacemaker (indication for pacing or diagnosis) and any symptoms that are being treated by it.  It goes without saying that you need his permission to look at this AND to consult his doctor. 

Recovery is a mix of the emotional and physical.  Some view a pacemaker as a new lease of life whilst others may view it as confirmation that their heart is failing and may fear all that this implies.  4 weeks - as others have said - is not very long, but you know him and I don't.

If you feel something is wrong perhaps it's worth exploring the emotional side. If he's had other cardiac operations before, (major ones), who knows how he might be feeling? You won't know unless you ask but as his son, he may not want you to worry. A few gentle questions about how he feels about the continuing problems with his heart and the pacemaker may be worth asking.  

If there's no obvious emotional issue, give him some time and gentle encouragement to do what he feels comfortable doing.  . It may be that he's just grateful to still be with you and that's all he wants from his device. That's fair enough at 89 in my book.   

Take care both of you! 

Questions, questions

by Gotrhythm - 2023-03-26 19:50:56

In my experience the hardest thing about coming to terms with a new pacemaker is figuring out what questions to ask. As you've seen from the above comments, the first question is what is your father's diagnosis and what difference does the doctor hope a pacemaker can make?

Fundamentally, all a pacemaker can do is make the heart beat faster and/or with better synchoniztion between the parts (chambers) of the hearts.

This is just an observation on my part (not a scientific study) but the people who do best and see immediate improvement, are those who are in the best condition before the pacemaker. Even among the aged, those who were walking at least a few blocks daily, will notice Improvement more readily than those who left the chair only to go to dinner or bed. Much of the overall improvement happens over time because one is able to be more active for longer periods. If one hasn't been active, the first step is going to be getting into better shape. In that case, the "improvement" might not be feeling much better. It might be a greater ability to tolerate mild exercise.

Another common reason people don't experience improvement is that the pacemaker settings have not been adjusted so that they are ideal for the patient. The most obvious setting is heartrate (HR.) It can be anything from 60 BPM to 80 BPM--or lower or higher. But, basically, it needs to be fast enough to feel good. The other setting, rate reponse (RR) is all about how fast the heartrate speeds up in response to exercise, and then how fast, or slowly, it slows down once you stop moving. If you need RR and it is not turned on, you will not feel good.

There are other settings, of course, and if the patient has a CRT (a three-wire pacemaker) even the basics are more complex. But in my experience, getting HR and RR dialed in just right makes make huge difference in how good I feel.

So now you have your homework. You need to ask the doctors about your father's diagnosis, and what his settings are and if they have been adjusted.

Having to be the interface between someone and his medical care can be particularly challenging. I give you kudos for coming to the Pacemaker Club and trying to learn all you can.

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Member Quotes

As for my pacemaker (almost 7 years old) I like to think of it in the terms of the old Timex commercial - takes a licking and keeps on ticking.