Irregular heartbeat 16 months later

Hi,
Is it typical to have irregular heart beats with the pacemaker? I had my Medronic put in 16 months ago- been doing fine. I was at the Dr. (not cardiologist) yesterday and the nurse said my pulse was 60 (what the pacer is set at) but very irregular fast and slow. Is that because it is a natural pacing beat or? She said to let the cardiologist know, but it is always a hassle and I do not need another Dr visit.

Thanks,
Tom


3 Comments

Is it bad, good, or nuetral?

by TSA - 2008-05-08 03:05:15

Thanks for the info - so it happens. What does this mean for life and functioning? Do you think this is a reason to go to the cardiologist?
T

God, Bad or Neutral, I Don't Know

by SMITTY - 2008-05-08 07:05:09

Tom,

Just what it means depends on how bad your irregular heart beat is and how long the episodes last? In my case I have lived with varying degrees of irregular heart beats for 25+ years. They come and go, except this last series started about 14 months ago and just gets worse as time goes by. I see a new cardiologist next week so I still have hope. Mine have never caused me to pass out, but this does happen to some people.

If your's are not all that noticeable then maybe you can just keep an eye on it and if it seems to be getting worse it is time to see your doctor. If they really get your attention, then don't wait for them to get worse.

I guess what I'm really saying is what you already know, only a doctor can tell you if yours are serious enough to warrant further testing or treatment. I might add there are a number of medications available that help many people with problems similar to yours.

Good luck,

Smitty

Irregular Heartbeat and Pacemaker

by SMITTY - 2008-05-08 12:05:22

Hello Tom,

Unfortunately we can have an irregular heart beat even though we have a pacemaker. Below is a little back ground on the hearts electrical system and how our pacemaker either replaces the impulses from that system or complements that system.

"Your heart has its own internal electrical system that controls the speed and rhythm of your heartbeat. With each heartbeat, an electrical signal spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom. As it travels, the electrical signal causes the heart to contract in an organized manner and pump blood. Electrical signals normally begin in a group of cells called the sinus node. As these signals spread from the top to the bottom of the heart, they coordinate the timing of heart cell activity. First, the two upper chambers of the heart, called atria, contract. Such a contraction squeezes blood into the lower chambers of the heart, which are called ventricles. The ventricles then contract and send blood to the rest of the body. The combined contraction of the atria and ventricles is a heartbeat.

What a pacemaker does? A pacemaker uses low-energy electrical pulses to correct faulty electrical signaling that leads to arrhythmias. Pacemakers can: Speed up a slow heartbeat; Help end an abnormal and fast rhythm; Coordinate the electrical signaling between the ventricles; Coordinate the electrical signaling between the upper and lower chambers of the heart; Make sure the ventricles contract normally if the atria are quivering instead of beating in a normal rhythm (a condition called atrial fibrillation)

Pacemakers also can monitor and record your heart’s electrical activity and the rhythm of your heartbeat. Newer pacemakers can monitor your blood temperature, breathing rate, and other factors and adjust your heart rate to changes in your activity."

I no longer recall the source of the above as I copied it to my files sometime in the past, but I think one thing very important item is missing. That item being that our pacemaker checks to see if the heart's natural pacemaker is sending an impulse to make the heart beat before it sends one. I guess a person could say it is this feature, but very important feature, that allows us to have an irregular heart beat even though we have a pacemaker. By having our PM check to see if the heart's PM is sending an impulse before it sends one, we avoid having a duplication of electoral impulses to our heart. If that were to happen and those signals were not perfectly timed our heart rhythm could really be out of kilter.

However, therein is where a problem can arise. The heart's natural PM may be sending an impulse but that impulse is not strong enough to make our heart beat, but it can be strong enough to make our PM think the heart will beat without an assist and it does nothing. In other words our heart's natural pacemaker is faking out our manmade PM and the result is an irregular heart beat.

Smitty

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