Getting a new lead in a different country

Hi all! Let me just it's wonderful that there is a site like this one. I'm 29 and I've had a pacemaker for 5 years now, due to neurocardiogenic syncope... I've felt much better since then, except for the last few months when I got exceptionally tired. So I went to see the pacemaker technician and they said they have to replace a lead. The NHS, in the UK, just sent me a letter saying that I'm being admitted on Monday to replace the lead. I'm originally from Mexico and have always been treated in private hospitals over there. Anyone can tell me what a lead revision feels like? Does it leave another scar or do they cut on top of the old one?
As for the recovery, my parents keep asking me if I want them to come and I keep saying it's not such a big deal... but I'm actually a little scared. What do you think? Is recovery very bothersome? How long do I have to stay in bed?
Sorry for all the questions... thanks for being there. :)


lead replacement

by bambi - 2007-07-24 11:07:20

Hi Caliope,
I can understand your concern over the lead revision. Will they leave the old one in and put a new one down the SVC? Or are they extracting the old lead and replacing with a new one? If they are not extracting the old lead, then the procedure is fairly straight forward. My pocket incision has been opened 3 times. The 2nd one, they cut right on top of the old one. The 3rd time, they cut on a diagonal above the old incision, because the original one was weakened. Your Dr. will let you know what he plans to do, but sometimes they don't know until they get in there. Extraction of an old lead is a much bigger deal than putting a new one down, but leaving the old one in. I've had both my leads extracted and replaced. If there are no complications, usually you are kept overnight and sent home with the same instructions as when your pacer was originally placed. You'll have to keep your arm below waist level, and not lift anything heavy for 3-6 weeks. You'll probably have driving restrictions and have to take it easy [not bedridden!] for a few days. Because I had no complications, I was up and around in a few days. Of course, you are limited to the use of your one arm, so your parents may be a big help to you. I hope this answers a few of your questions. Every Dr. has his or her own way of doing things, so I can only tell you about my experience. Try not to worry- God has you covered as always! Let us know how it goes!


by caliope - 2007-07-24 11:07:39

Dear Bambi,
Thanks for the answer, it helps... I will talk to my doctor on the 26 and then I will know more. Will keep you posted!

Lead Change

by STennant - 2007-07-25 08:07:50

They just opened my pocket and did all the work from there. I had the lead extraction and replacement done at the Cleveland Clinic. They do an exceptional job!

News from my heart

by caliope - 2007-07-28 07:07:31

Hi all,
Well the doctor answered my questions and is indeed leaving in the old lead and just putting in a new one. Still he said something like "you might have a hole in your heart" in such a cute British accent that I didn't even ask him to explain. Any ideas what he meant?? He ordered a Transesophageal Echocardiogram that I'm having done next week. I assume it's nothing serious since he wasn't concerned but feel like an idiot for not asking more questions.
By the way, my mom did not even wait for me to ask her to come. She got on the first plane and will be arriving today. It will be nice to have someone look after me.
Thanks for your answers, this site really helps my peace of mind.

hole in the heart

by brokenheart - 2007-08-08 08:08:06

hi caliope,
I havent had any experience with lead replacements but i was wondering how did they know that it needed to be replaced? About the hole in your heart...the way my doc explains it is that there is this flap that u have in area between your right and left atriums and this is open when you are in your mom's some people this flap does not close well and blood leaks back and forth through it. People with this condition are at higher risks for getting stokes and that is why your doc may want to do the echo. I may have one done too because my doc thinks i may have one also. Here is some more information. Hope this helps.

Patent foramen ovale


Signs and symptoms
When to seek medical advice
Screening and diagnosis

In normal fetal development, a small, flap-like opening develops in the wall (septum) between the right and left upper chambers of the heart (right atrium and left atrium). This opening occurs naturally before birth and usually closes within weeks or months after a baby is born.

However, in at least one out of four people, this opening persists throughout life and is called patent foramen ovale (PA-tunt fo-RA-mun o-VA-le), or PFO. The opening that occurs in patent foramen ovale may allow blood to flow from the heart's right atrium to the left atrium and vice versa.

Most people with patent foramen ovale don't know they have the condition. That's because patent foramen ovale usually doesn't cause any signs or symptoms. Most people with patent foramen ovale don't need treatment, although closing the opening with a device is an option.


by caliope - 2007-08-13 11:08:21

Hi Brokenheart,

Thanks for the info, it makes sense now. I'm having that study made on Sept 13, today I'm having the lead replacement surgery. Not too nervous about it... Will let you know :)

You know you're wired when...

Your old device becomes a paper weight for your desk.

Member Quotes

So, my advice is to go about your daily routine and forget that you have a pacemaker implanted in your body.