Time to Battery Change

I'm a new PM user, received on 11/1. I've had a few problems with response to exertion but now seem to have settled into a reasonably smooth symbiotic relationship with it (Guidant Insignia Ultra)

My question is how long until the battery fails. I've been told between 5 and 7 years. I've seen longer times quoted on the site. What's your actual experience? Anyone less than 5 years? It might be helpful if you indicate the type pacemaker and indication for it's placement.

Many thanks


battery ran down

by heckboy - 2008-01-29 02:01:07

My battery ran down after just three years. I was on track for replacement between 7-10 years, but a year in, something happened to my connection where it took 3 times the energy to effect my heart. Its not just the percentage one paces that affects its life, but the amount of energy that's used.

My old leads were extracted last Friday and I'm actually in my Dr's office right now. I'm going to ask if the old lead became fractured or if he knows what happened. A chest x-ray was inconclusive.

Hopefully this one will last longer.

that depends

by CathrynB - 2008-01-29 02:01:55

I've not had a PM change yet, but my understanding is the primary factor that varies battery life is what % a person is paced. I've read of people on here who kept the same PM and battery for only a couple of years, and one who kept hers 21 years if I recall correctly. I agree the vast majority are 5-8 years just from reading here. I'm only paced 2% of the time, and at my last PM interrogation, the printout estimated I have 9.5 - 12 years left on my current battery. I'll be interested to read what others have to say.

it's such an individual thing!

by bambi - 2008-01-29 03:01:44

My first pacemaker's battery was used up in 4 years. I am paced 98-100% in the atrium, and about 15% in the ventricles. I was told my new St. Jude pacemaker would last longer, about 8 years. However, at last interrogation, I only have between 4 and 5 left. I guess it's because I'm pacing pretty much all the time. But as heckboy said, there are other factors that determine battery life. Don't worry though. Replacement surgery of the generator, and not the leads, is a much simpler procedure, without the restrictions of the first surgery. Take care!

Battery Life

by SMITTY - 2008-01-29 04:01:30

Hi Cycledoc,

There are so many factors in determining the life of pacemaker battery that predicting one’s life is at best a wild guess.

For example things that I can name that will have a bearing on the life of a battery are:

Make of pacemaker

Number of leads, (1, 2 or 3)

Pacemaker settings, A low end setting that is 70 or above usually means the pacemaker will assist the heart more often.

Resistance of the leads. This can increase as the leads get older or for any one of several reasons.

Power (Voltage) settings.

Expertise and knowledge of the technicians doing the checkups. One with little experience or little overall knowledge of the intricacies of a pacemaker can establish settings that will increase the drain on the battery thereby shortening its life.

The stability of the health of the person's heart. If the heart’s health deteriorates, then the pacemaker may have to work more often and the setting changed to accommodate these changes.

I’ve had my PM for eight years. The first item I was given an estimated battery life remaining was about eight years and I got this at the end of five years operation. During the sixth year I had some major changes in my medications which resulted in my pacemaker assisting >90% of the time. At the end of the sixth year the estimated remaining battery life was four years, and on my last checkup at 7.5+ year’s operation that was down to 3.3 years. I am eagerly awaiting my next checkup in March to see what the number is now.

This is the reason I get copies of the printouts from my checkups. The technician will give me the current numbers but they are reluctant to discuss how these compare with the last checkup numbers or how the current numbers figure into the entire picture of my PM operation. I take these numbers home and go over them with a fine tooth comb looking for changes. If I se something that is a mystery I can call and ask a specific question. Sometimes I even get an answer to my question.

My suggestion is for anyone to keep up with the battery life degradation and do their own remaining battery life estimating. Your guess will probably be as good as anyone.

Last but not least, I’ll bet there are two or three times as many factors that determine battery life as the ones I have listed.


by heckboy - 2008-01-29 06:01:25

I meant to say that the wire was visible/bare because the insulation was pulled back.

Loose lead

by heckboy - 2008-01-29 06:01:54

Turns out that my lead was pulled loose and the insulation was visible near the tip. Energy was leaking out so that's why my battery was used up faster.

I remember when it happened too... I was doing a big shoulders back stretch and I felt a tug inside. The next time I was at the gym, I felt like I did before the PM. I won't be doing that again! :)

Battery change

by Fluzy Suzy - 2008-01-30 02:01:19

My first pace maker was inserted in 1987 and removed in 2005. My second one is still working fine.
Battery life all depends on how much it is used. There is no normal time so my Cardiologise informs me.
Fluzy Suzy

Battery life

by Russell - 2011-09-17 03:09:11

No such thing as "average" battery life. My first pacemaker was implanted in June 1998 and lasted 140 months (11 years and 8 months) before being replaced in February 2009. It might be close to a record for the Legacy DR II by Medtronic.

Battery life error

by Russell - 2011-09-17 06:09:56

I mistakenly posted that my Medtronic Legacy DR II lasted 11 years and 8 months, when it lasted 10 years anad 8 months, totaling 128 months. My brain wasn't working properly when I calculated the number of years.

You know you're wired when...

You’re officially battery-operated.

Member Quotes

It is just over 10 years since a dual lead device was implanted for complete heart block. It has worked perfectly and I have traveled well near two million miles internationally since then.