Introduction and questions
I've been lurking here on the forum for the past several weeks and thought it was time to join and provide an introduction. I'm not a "legitimate" member of the club since I'm having my pacemaker implant tomorrow (gulp!). I'll put my questions at the front so those who don't want to read my overly lengthy introduction can skip it. The important background for the questions is I'm a long distance cyclist, 69 years old (in 5 days) and have been an athlete my whole life (runner then cyclist). I'm having a Boston Scientific pacemaker implant.
1. If I continue to do long (200K+) rides post-implant will this damage/degrade my heart or will the fact that I'm now paced ameliorate that?
2. I'm assuming the over the air monitoring generates alerts to the EP if there's anything amiss and I'll be contacted to make changes in the programming - is this correct?
3. How often are adjustments made? By whom (EP, technician or nurse?)
4. My EP says settings are "guided by how I feel" and that they don't do e.g., a stress test on a stationary bike while monitoring. Analytically, that seems like a better method to me. I know there are places (Mass General for example) that cater to athletes, are there any in the Midwest? Should I pursue that or have others found the "guided by feel" method to be sufficient?
I guess that's it for the questions (for now!). Thanks for any and all replies!
As I said above, I'm a long time athlete. I ran track in college (10K) and have cycled 10K-12K miles per year for more than 20 years. I was essentially asymptomatic (see * below) until early June when my HR dropped to 60 while riding and to 40 after coasting for 20-30 seconds.
I've had an EKG, echocardiogram, exercise stress test with dye, Zio monitor and cardiac MRI. Zio monitor shows low HR of 29 with repeated pauses, longest pause 5.1 seconds. Diagnosis: bradycardia, 1st degree AV block, chronotropic incompetence. Heart generally healthy, no blockage, valves OK. RX: pacemaker implant.
I had a very good consult with the EP. He spent 1.5 hours with me, had reviewed my test results before the consult so came in prepared. He seems to be sympathetic to my desire to continue long distance cycling.
Since the event in early June I've been feeling progressively worse and the frequency of the pauses is increasing. I've not had any episodes of fainting but at the rate of progression I think that would be in my future without the pacemaker.
* As mentioned, I thought I was asymptomatic. There were days where I didn't feel all that great but put it down to aging. I've worn an Apple watch since 2020 and only recently downloaded all the data (more than 500K data points). Long story short, there were numerous instances where my HR was below 40, starting in late 2020.
You know you're wired when...
Your device makes you win at the slot machines.
I have a well tuned pacer. I hardly know I have it. I am 76 year old, hike and camp alone in the desert. I have more energy than I have had in a long time. The only problem is my wife wants to have a knob installed so she can turn the pacer down.