Anxiety about the pacemaker

Got my pacemaker implantation surgery done 12 days ago. Since then, I am always feeling anxious. I am 28 Year old. This thing is basically making me a mental patient. So many questions are going through my mind. After the implementation, I started to feel the problem which I used to feel before the surgery and rushed to the hospital. Doctor did an ECG test and said that my heart beat is high. It's around 120 and this is the reason I was getting the symptoms again. But the symptoms intensity are not even close to what I used to get before the surgery. Doctor said that I am thinking about all of these very much and I am tensed all the time. This is the reason. Doctor prescribed me two medicines. One for high pressure and one for high pulse rate. After taking the medicines I am kind of feeling well but still I am continuously getting a feeling that the problems are going to start again and I am going to die. I don't know why these thoughts are coming. Is is common to have these thoughts? I have a Bluetooth headphone and I am not confident at all about using the headphone. Not confident at all about going to malls, airports. I am feeling super depressed right now. Please help me to get over this ! 



by Persephone - 2023-04-30 16:01:43

Hi Baban - I'm so sorry for your anxiety. First - practice some deep breathing exercises to help give you space from this particular health condition, which is a condition you are now equipped to deal with, right? Second - knowledge is power. Your BT headphones are fine, going out in the world is fine, you'll be OK. You are protected by your device. Your device is shielded from interference by any of the everyday electric/ electronic equipment we all encounter. You can continue to work with your medical team to ensure that your medications and PM settings are optimized for you.

Please see a medical practioner about getting some help with this intense anxiety. May not make it go away altogether but can help.

Best to you.

Hi! Welcome !!

by Lavender - 2023-04-30 18:22:28

I read that you're an electrical engineer and a musician! That's awesome!  You're going to have a wonderful life. Many of us are older and some are younger than you. We all go through varying degrees of anxiety as we no longer trusted our bodies. In time, you will find out what works for you. You will cope. Right now it's all new and scary. 

I was fainting for six months before they figured out that my electrical system in my heart was flickering out. I have complete AV heart block. Our pacemakers keep us going. When they're first implanted...we are on hyper alert. Our brain thinks we are in danger. We notice every sensation and think, "oh no! What's wrong now?!" Sometimes we get so fearful that our heart pounds. We need reassurance. 

You will be ok. You're under your doctor's care. You are not the first person they ever treated who has these problems.  They might try some different medications that take time to kick in. They may raise or lower the dosage. You will find the right balance in time. 

You can live a normal life. I'm old enough to be your mom. I've had my pacemaker two years. I was frightened at first. I was depressed. I thought my life was fading away. I was afraid to leave the house alone or go too far. Be gentle with yourself. Get out even if it's to take a walk near home. Gradually you will trust your pacemaker and go out with friends again. There's nothing stopping you but your mind. 

You are fixed and are not going to die. Your pacemaker bought you life. Anxiety can make your heart race. The pacemaker can't help that. 

Your Bluetooth is fine. I was just told not to let headphone wires hang over my pacemaker.  Nothing has bothered my device. 

You are only 12 days into recovery. Relax. Take deep breaths.  Listen to peaceful music. You're very intelligent. You can do this. Fight back. A psychologist told me to go on youtube and type in "Michael Sealey". He gives a lot of self guided meditation talks. Look up the ones on anxiety. Lie down wearing headphones. Do what he says. Train yourself to self comfort. What you're going through is NORMAL


Thank you

by Baban - 2023-05-01 01:45:11

Thank you friends for your comments. I think this is a very strong and positive initiative for patients like us. Thank you for giving me hope and assurity of my life. I will try my best to overcome all these and live a beautiful life. I am surely going to contribute to this group from every aspect. 


by Tracey_E - 2023-05-01 11:31:45

I'm glad you found us! Know you are not alone and this is merely a bump in the road.  It's going to take a bit to heal from the pacer surgery, both physically and emotionally. Sometimes it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it is there. Because it's a fairly easy surgery phsysically, everyone expects us to bounce back right away emotionally, but it's perfectly normal and ok to take some time to wrap your head around it and come to accept it. 

I was 27 when I got my first one so I've been where you are. It's scary to be so young, to be dealing with health issues when your friends are most likely not giving their health a thought. It may not feel like it now, but things will get back to normal! As you heal and feel well again, it will get easier to trust the pacer to do its job and to stop thinking about it all the time. One day you'll wake up and realize you've barely thought about it for day or even weeks. Since I got my first one, I raised two kids (both born after I was paced), run my own business, hike or ski most vacations. I live a full, active life and no one looks at me and sees a heart patient. 

I promise, it will get easier! Life will return to normal. 

Edit: I didn't see your last sentences about being afraid to use electronics and go places. Live your life!! Virtually nothing in the home is a problem. Bluetooth is not a problem. In 29 years, I think I've set off store monitors 3 times, and it wasn't an issue. I just said I had a pacer and kept going. I walk thorugh metal detectors all the time- stores, concerts, courthouse, airport, amusement parks. We do not set them off. You can also go through at airports. It's normal to be nervous at first, but very very few things will affect it. And if something does affect it, all we need to do is get away from it. Rule of thumb is 6" for anything questionable. 


by piglet22 - 2023-05-01 11:46:47


Your anxiety will only make matters worse. It is what it is, you've been dignosed and treated.

On the scale of things that can go wrong, heart rhythm problems are the easiest to correct.

Many people have pacemakers fitted and live to ripe old age. Often you are more aware of problems as a result and you take better care of yourself.

Learn to live with it and think of what life must have been like before these wonderful devices.

Nothing much in everyday life is going to affect your device. Forget the microwave and the hedge trimmer, not a problem. You would have to go out of your way to have a significant effect on your PM. Don't do crazy things like seeing what a powerful magnet can do and don't get close to very powerful radio transmitters, that would be asking for trouble. The exception is MRI and you won't get near one without being thoroughly checked. Most new PMs are MRI safe now.

I tinker with electrics and elecronics and get exposed every day to all sorts electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Nothing sensible has ever affected the PM. Don't worry about supermarket and airport scanners. If someone wants to wave a wand over you, tell them not to unless they want to be sued.

I've had 240 volt shocks, tinkering, and no problems apart from a lot of cussing. Even a very high voltage nerve conduction test did nothing. On that occasion though, the neurologist got to hear some some new language called blue.

Threr are loads of people on here that have a wealth of experience to share, and not much is new, so go ahead and ask. Nothing to lose.

Find a counselor

by Gotrhythm - 2023-05-01 12:04:12

Everything others have said it right on.

In addition, you might want to find a short term counselor/therapist.

Someone to listen to you and help you sort through what's a real problem that needs attention and what's not can be invaluable when you're trying to come to grips with a life changing situation like getting a pacemaker. Often, just a session of two is all you need.

You really will be okay. Millions of people worldwide live long, happy, normal, fulfulling lives with a pacemaker. You can too. There's no shame in needing a little help to get over the hump of adjusting to the change in your life.

one day at a time, one hour at a time

by dwelch - 2023-05-14 20:47:54

I got my first device at 19, am on device number five and have had pacers for 35 years.  I have leads older than you.

Also an electrical engineer.

You are going to be just fine.   As an engineer you do understand interference and shielding and all that.  The device is protected in more ways than one.  You need a seriously large EM field to confuse the thing as in literally hugging a power transformer, you have to get within inches usually and that just causes the pacer to not be able to detect the bodies signals.  There is a magnet sensor, not sure if it is a mechanical relay or not, this is twofold a "magnet test" it fixes your heart rate to indicate the battery voltage.  And second for medical procedures where they may need to carterize (sp?) something they can use a magnet.  As an electrical engineer you should probably not go into the power business you would want to avoid sub stations and generators and such.  Headphones, mobile phones, etc are fine, your are protected electrically (analog and gausian surface/faraday cage) and through protocols, a device has to not just be at the right frequency to talk to your device but speak the right protocol.   Only approved medical devices can do that not your headphones.

Perhaps your engineering knowledge will help with understanding the device and your condition.   One approach is like Tracey_E says, cope with it by learning about it.  Works for her and works for others, some folks are the other way and want to not know.  Whatever works for you.  

My childhood heart block lead to an oversized heart which can become life threatening all by itself not to mention the heart block.  I literally could feel every heart beat.  The pacemaker fixed that.  But it took me a good part of that first year to get comfortable.  What did help was to take my pulse, full 60 seconds, no cheating.  And, fortunately, every single time I was 1) still alive, my heart had not stopped and 2) the device was working and keeping me at or above my lower limit.  (my normal resting rate at the time was 40s awake and 30s sleeping, lower limit was 50 or 60 that first year or several).  And there is a mental heath aspect to using our brains to count which is why counting is helpful for calming down in general.

Otherwise there is no trick or solution that works or worked for any one of us that works for everyone else.  We are all different.  You are fine and the device is fine, just need to get you to convince yourself of this truth.   there is no shame in talking to someone.   Most of the people on this site have had one or more devices (the rest are like you and are about to get one or just got one), we have been thorugh all of this and are on the happy side of things.  I truly is like a belly button or middle toe, you just dont think about having a pacemaker.  You forget.   This too will happen for you.



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