Symptom help/advice please

Hi Everyone,

I'm new here, just found this site and would be grateful for any help or advice you could offer.

I'm 36, from the UK and was diagnosed with complete heart block in June. It's a bit of a long story so apologies and please bear with me. I had a routine high blood pressure check with my practice nurse in April and she did an ECG too. She showed results to doctor who sent me to hospital where I spent the night hooked up to a heart monitor. My HR was low 40s, dropping to high 30s whenever I tried to sleep. The cardio consultant has recommended a pacemaker pending various test results.

Since then I've had the following tests:
1. ultrasound heart echo :results - heart pump normal
2. 24hr ECG monitor : no results yet
3. Heart MRI with contrast dye: no results yet

I was completely surprised by all this fuss as I THOUGHT I'd had no symptoms (been to gym that morning) but now I'm wondering if I'd had some kind of symptoms for the past few years and never realized!

May I just ask, did any of you guys ever experience any (or all) of the following before you had your PMs fitted.

* squeezing/pressure in left side of neck/jaw which travels to collarbone and chest if I don't lie down and rest.

*tiredness/trouble sleeping/restless sleeping/trouble getting up

*I had a dizzy spell at work 3 months ago and have been signed off work and off driving since.

*mild tingling pins and needle sensations in left arm and leg
*left sided headaches
(I've had those two for at least 10 years and have thought they were migranes)

*weight issues despite healthy eating/gym member (my heart rate always low on cardio machines too!)

I've also been told by the cardiologist that my blood pressure is high because my heart rate is low and it over compensating - have any of you ever heard of that before?

The reason I'm asking is, if these symptoms are not related to my complete heart block, will a make pacemaker any difference ?

Any advice will be GREATLY apreciated as I feel totally in the dark, and since my 'symptoms/whatever' aren't continuous and I have days when they feel pretty mild, I unsure whether it's in my head!!!

Phew - that was a long first post!

Thanks in advance,


experience some symptoms

by sweetkozy - 2007-09-20 03:09:50

Hello Shelly,

Have to make this short, but I can tell you from my experience that I have had SOME of those symptoms and most of them have disappeared since receiving my PM.

I had 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree heart block before receiving the PM and I also had bradycardia where my heart rate would drop into the low 30's when I was sleeping. I also have tachycardia too, which the PM doesn't do anything for. I also had high blood pressure when I was only 16 or 17 and was put on medication to control it. I was athletic and only weighed 115lbs when I had HBP. Doctors were surprised, but didn't do a whole lot of digging to find out what was causing it.

- Some of the symptoms that I had and matched yours are:
- Dizziness - passed out a few times
- Trouble sleeping - only when I was in heart block
- Fatigue - I had a lot of fatigue and wanted to lay around all day. I really did not want to do a whole lot, but made myself do it.
- Tingling in left hand and arm - I guess I still get that every-once and a while today even.
- Tightening in the chest - also had a lot of sharp pain too.

I would have to say since my PM was implanted 5 years ago, when I was 21, almost all those symptoms went away. I have more energy now than I have had in the last 15 years. I sleep like a baby now and nobody can even think about disturbing me! :) By golly my BP went back to normal too after the PM implant and I was able to get off all medication. It was scary at first to think about having a PM implanted, but now that I look back I am so thankful for the doctor that created it and for my EP! I would not have it any other way! I live an extremely normal life now and my PM does NOT hinder me in any way.

I hope this helps you in some way! Feel free to ask me questions!


Low pulse rate

by peter - 2007-09-20 05:09:04

Yes a pacemaker will help you a grart deal. If you get offered one jump at it as it sometimes can be difficult to get one on the NHS.


by Shelly - 2007-09-21 07:09:10

Hi Jenny and Peter,

Thanks for your comments.

Jenny, like yourself, if I feel fatigued but try to 'force' myself to carry on, after an hour or two I get sharp pains in my left arm and chest, then I have no choice but to rest. It's quite scary when it happens, but I feel less freaked out about it now after reading your post.

I feel a bit silly mentioning things like 'tiredness' and 'headaches' to a doctor, but all those symptoms, which don't seem all that bad when looked at individually, put together they can be very debilitating.

It's very reassuring to know that others have felt the same and that a pacemaker can help. I feel less 'in the dark' about it now.

I can see me spending a fair bit of time in here :-)

Thanks again


PM are great

by PhillyMig - 2007-09-21 09:09:53

At the age of 58 I suddenly develope3d bradycardia. The main systems besides a low pulse rate (<50) were shortness of breath and difficulty doing any type of physical activity. getting a PM gave me whole new life of activity (tennis, kayaking, home maint. etc;) that would have been impossible otherwise. I am very grateful for living at a time when these devices are available, otherwise I would dead or sitting in arocking chair for therest of my life.

3rd degree block

by yannis - 2007-09-21 11:09:28

Hi Shelly

No one can tell for sure whether your symptoms occur because of the bradycardia. When you have the pacemaker you'll find out. I am saying this with cynicism as having a 3rd degree block you cannot avoid having the pm implanted anyway. Since you do suffer from the condition, only good things can happen after you implant the pm. One thing is certain though. All the symptoms you mention CAN occur because of the bradycardia. Having said that most people with pacemakers live a normal life. I have one since I was 25 and have been playing footbal for my University, I've done all kinds of sports, hiking, swimming and I had no serious complications. So cheer up!! and good luck with the op..

More Thanks

by Shelly - 2007-09-23 08:09:26

Hi Yannis and PhillyMig,

Thanks for your comments - I think I'm finally going through the 'acceptance' stage now. I appreciate that I'm also lucky to have had some time to get my head to this stage and not had a PM fitted as an emergency, which must be a huge shock to anyone's system!!

As for my symptoms, i think because they're not 100% 'textbook' and I'm lucky enough not to be having blackouts etc, that the docs are being cautious and sending me for lots of tests. I think the MRI I had last tues was the final test, so I'll hopefully get the results in a few weeks and see the cardio doc to discuss the next step.

Just reading the experiences of everyone on this forum has been a boost - at 36, I don't feel 'too young' for this anymore :-)

Thanks for your support.


Hi shelly Allan (410 edinburgh

by allanrogers - 2007-10-18 07:10:33

The procedure was so quick and completely painless.
They talk to you all the way through it I had anticipated i might freak out so i asked for a dimazipan (relax pill) 20 mins before surgery and believe it or not i was chatting and laughing all the way through it it was less than an hour when the cables are being placed in heart i felt my heart beat increase slightly but only a tickle.
You are completely in the best hands possible.

I am learning that in life acceptance is a far better strategy than fear .

I understand your fears as they were mine but you will be ok.If there is one thing we all have in common on this site is that positive thinking must be our way forward.

When is your pm surgery?

Good luck and please if you ever want to chat or drop me an email i will always respond

good luck

Kindest regards


You know you're wired when...

You fondly named your implanted buddy.

Member Quotes

I'm 35 and got my pacemaker a little over a year ago. It definitely is not a burden to me. In fact, I have more energy (which my husband enjoys), can do more things with my kids and have weight because of having the energy.