Bouncing on undulating streets and roads

Hi. I'm a newby to the forum and fairly new to my PM. I got it in December of 06 when my heart paused a little too long while I was in ER with some bad afibs.

I really don't know much about the PM, which is a Medtronic Enrhythm, but will learn more I hope on October 8 when I see the cardio PM specialist. She did not install the PM, but did check it at 45 days. It also was checked at about 5 months by the Medtronic technician. Over all I am okay with it. I don' t notice it and it doesn't bother me. My understanding is that it is set to keep my HR from going below 45 or so bpm. I don't see how that helps stop the afibs from starting.

My question is: When I am driving on an undulating or rough road I sometimes have a sensation of a heavy pressure on my chest and have difficulty getting my breath. The lasts a very short time, but sometimes it gives me the same feelings I have following an afib attack and it takes sometime to get back to normal. Usually it it fine in just a few minutes. While I don't know for sure that the PM is causing this I do suspect it, because I have never had the sensation prior to the PM and also what research I have been able to do on the internet has produced other individuals with PMs and similar problems.

Also I get mixed messages from my regular cardio as to the affect a pm has on afibs. They have virtually stopped, except occasionally for short times of usually 5 minutes or less. Unfortunately very close to the time the PM was fine tuned at about 45 days after it was installed my Rhythmol was also increased from 150mg X 2 to 225 mg X 2. So I really don't know which had the most, if any, effect. The only other heart related problem I have is pulmonary hypertension, which is secondary to COPD.

Anything you all can tell me will be appreciated. Thanks, Luke


Check with an EP

by boatman50 - 2007-10-03 08:10:50

I believe you have a pm to keep up your heart rate, and take medicine to keep it from racing.
On the road could it be your seat belt strap putting pressure on you? Or you could need more time healing.
The best thing that I did was get sent to an EP, who really knew what was going on in there and set the cardiologists straight.


by CathrynB - 2007-10-03 11:10:06

I wonder if you have the rate response mode turned on, which you may or may not need, and the rough road makes your PM think you are becoming more active and need more assistance getting your heartrate up? Unless you have printouts from your last visit with the Medtronic technician and can read it there, call and ask whether the rate response is on, whether you need it, and if not whether it can be turned off so you can figure out whether that is the problem. Boatman is right -- seeing an Electrophysiologist is most helpful in getting the settings just right for your needs.
Take care, Cathryn

Bouncing and afib

by Vai - 2007-10-04 03:10:53

From your description, it appears that I have similar condition. Basically you have afib and you are prescribed medication to maintain the heart's rhythm The drug suppresses the episodes of afib but never eliminating it. The drug is strong enough that it may slow the heart too much and you get dizzy or fainting spells. The PM is implanted to support you from a too slow heart rate due to the suppression effects of the drugs.

The 45 bpm setting for your PM appears real low. However your doctor must have a good reason to set it this low and the most important thing is that you are comfortable at this slow rate. The "factory" std setting is 50 bpm to 60 bpm.

Looks like some types of activity sets your heart to "race" or triggers an afib episode. These episodes are sharp, burst of activity, cause mild discomfort and disappears as quickly. This is very typical. The activities can be sudden increase exercises, certain foods &/or drinks even. The fact that the afib is short term in nature actually tells you that the drugs & prescribed dosage is effective for you. Sometimes the doc may have temporarily increased the dosage to gauge your body's needs & response.

In the next interrogation of the PM, take a look at your report and you can assess the frequency and intensity of your afib episodes. The doc decides his course of action from the report and "how you feel" during those times when you are experiencing an afib episode. If you don't get bothered and afib is intermittent, likely no action.

Checking the PM rate response is helpful. Based on what I have read and own experience, the rate response is not needed to help an afib condition. It is unlikely your rate response is turned on.

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