I just had my PM installed on the 20the of aug,so I am new to this PM world. Mine was installed because my sinus nod doesn't fire to well and my heart rate resting is in the low 30's. I have been living with a heart that did not know how to beat for 5yrs and I became quite comfortable with it,till every time I stopped moving my heart rate would slow down so far I would almost pass out, for example. I was on stage performing and when the songs would end it was like a black curtain was closing in on me an everything around me was spinning. So here is my question that I hope someone can answer for me.

I feel my PM kick in all the time and I hate it before I only had problems when resting not when active, now its the opposite, I am fine resting and when I am moving around the thing kicks in and it feels like my heart and PM are fighting each other. Is it normal to feel all this,and does anybody feel there PM kick in.


feeling the PM doing it's work

by CathrynB - 2007-08-19 05:08:14

Hey Mr.Foreshadow:
Welcome to Pacemaker Club! I hope your surgery went well and your recovery is going smoothly other than feeling the pacemaker doing it's work and finding that bothersome.
I'm not sure how recently you had your pacemaker installed, because I think August 20th is tomorrow, but maybe you meant August 2nd or 10th? Anyway, I hope you're painfree, sleeping allright, and getting by without lifting your arm above your head -- I thought that was the worst part of recovery!
I completely agree with ela-girl that what you're feeling is normal and will not last. Many of us with slow and pausing heartbeats (me too -- 5 second pauses showed up commonly on my holter monitor) came out of the hospital with the pacemaker set at 60 beats per minute, the voltage at 5 volts, and even the rate response mode unnecessarily turned on. When is your first follow-up appointment with the doctor/ nurse/technician? They will likely do an "interrogation" of your PM -- meaning they'll place a magnet on top it and download data telling them how it's performing so far. At my first appointment they turned the beats per minute from 60 to 55, and turned the rate response mode off. At the next appointment they turned the beats per minute down to 50, and turned the "sleep mode" to 45 beats per minute from 11pm to 6am daily. I just don't need a real high rate of beats, and my heart has no problem at all raising up to high beats when I'm active -- like yours, it just slows down too far when I'm not active. Then at 2 months they turned my voltage from 5 to 2.5, and by that time everything was set perfectly for me. I felt my pacemaker kicking in all the time the first few weeks (I got mine in January) because my regular rate was in the 30s, 40s or 50s -- so when it would jump up to 60 bpm it felt like it was racing or pounding, even though that's a normal healthy rate for most people. Plus most of us are hyper-tuned-in to our bodies right after the surgery and notice every little thing -- I found it troubling too. But each adjustment to the pacemaker settings made it less and less noticeable, and now I never can tell whether it's working or not, unless I check my pulse and it's right about 50, then I usually assume it's pacing me.
You should discuss this with your doctor, but rest assured that your experience is the same as mine was initially, and I've read here on PM Club of many, many others who went through the same thing. It won't last, and before long you won't notice at all when it's pacing you.
Do you have a single lead, dual lead, or perhaps 3 leads?
Take care, keep us posted on how you feel after your first adjustments to your PM settings, and folks here are happy to share their experience and knowledge, so post more questions if they come up!
Take care, Cathryn


by ela-girl - 2007-08-19 05:08:24

Hi, Mr.FS!

As far as feeling the pm kicking in...I am not sure what kind of pacer you have, but it is common to feel the ventricular pacing because it feels like a strong heart beat opposed to atrial pacing. If any pacer is going to 'feel the pacemaker firing' it is going to be this stronger ventricular beat. And as time goes by and you recover, you really shouldn't be feeling the pacemaker kicking in at all if it is working properly. At first, it is easy to be so focused on it all because it is new to you. Also...coming out of surgery a lot of pacemakers are on factory settings or are set at a higher voltage to ensure that the pacer is working properly. As you go in for your pacer checks, your doctor or tech or pacer rep will check the pacer and change the settings for you depending on what is best for you. If for some reason you are having extreme discomfort or shocks, call your doctor and ask.

I had my pm implanted via emergency surgery for severe bradycardia and syncope--so I understand your low heart rate and the feeling of passing out--I would black out ALL THE TIME. My pacemaker has helped tremendously with all of it! Give it some time and you should feel great!

If you any other questions feel free to private message me. Take care! You've found a great support system in this site and I am sure others will respond!

Happier pacing-

Good Question

by SMITTY - 2007-08-19 05:08:59


Welcome to the PM Club.

Now, I can see what I have to say may be in conflict with some of what ela-girl has is saying. Since most of us speak from personal experience with our PM I thnk some disagreement is normal and I'll let mine go as is.

So that you aren’t misled, I’m not a doctor. I’ve had a PM for seven years and among other things I’ve had the problem you describe, but I don’t think mine was as severe as yours sounds.

Now to answer your question, neither you nor anyone with a pacemaker should ever feel it doing its job. A PM is designed to assist our heart as a totally silent and unfelt partner. Please note I’m saying pacemaker and not ICD. If you have a defibrillator, yes you will feel that little mule kick every time it has to stop an episode of V-Fib. But, you say it feels as the PM and hear are fighting each other. That may not be a bad description as it can happen.

If you have a unit that has the rate response activated and it is “out of time” with the contraction of the atrium, and causing the ventricle to contract to soon (we are talking about milliseconds here) the ventricle could be contracting before the valve between the atrium and ventricle is closed. This in effect causes the ventricle to force a closing of that valve and it hurts. I had that with mine so I know. My pain was not bad, but I’ve always found that any pain in the region of my heart gets my attention.

Or your PM can simply be out time with your hearts function. A PM checks to see if our hearts natural PM is going to send an impulse and if it does not see that impulse it sends one to cause the atrium to contract. But if the wait by the PM (this waiting time is adjustable) is not long enough you have a man-made pacemaker and the heart’s natural pacemaker trying to do the same job and it can be very noticeable.

My suggestion is that you call your doctor and insist on a PM checkup as a PM can and should be a silent partner.

Good luck,


sorry it was friday the 17 of aug

by Mr.ForeShadow - 2007-08-19 06:08:43

Thanks to all your responces it really helps knowing I am not the only one and to share info so my anxiety can stay at bay. I really think cathrynb hit it on the nose with the responce mode being shut off. I was thinking about that before I wrote my posting because I do not need my PM when I am above 60bpm. Once again thank you all for the support.

Me too!

by lucybell - 2007-08-19 06:08:57

Hi- I just had my PM installed on August 9th and I am feeling the exact same things when I am up moving around. It only lasts for a little bit and it has only happened when I am trying to exercise by walking fast. It makes me try to catch my breath and then it seems to adjust itself. I had a very similar problem with my sinus node and low heart rate so after sitting that low I figure that the heart is having to adjust. But my doctor told me that I would feel that and its normal and when I go back for my month check-up they would adjust it. I am feeling it less and less and I am sure that is partly being used to it. How are you feeling otherwise? More energy? I know that I have a lot more energy and am no longer fainting and was able to go off my blood pressure medication. very happy. I hope that helps and if you are too worried about it- just call your doctor. I am sure they would be happy to help.

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