Doing too much?

My name is Charlie, age 62, live in Nor Cal an hour east of Stockton, Sierra foothills about 1500 ft. I just found this website yesterday and joined.

I had an ICD installed on Saturday 17 May 2008. If was kind of an emergency since I fainted on Thursday. Actually my heart stopped for 6 seconds. I had a heart monitor on because I had fainted three weeks prior. From the monitor my heart was tachy/brady before I passed out on Thursday.

The Dr had me on 50 gm Metoprolol ER [generic for Toprol] for about a week before the second faint. Since the ICD install,l he has had me on 100 gm Metoprolol.

I came home the Sunday after the implant and was off work last week. I have been doing light chores around the house, yard and garden. I have been walking on level ground but when I try to walk uphill, I get light headed and/or winded and have to pause for a small rest and can then proceed.

Generally I feel good. The surgery is healing well. I sleep as well as can be expected and am eating good.

Last Friday, 23 May, I had a Dr appointment and he released me for office work but not to drive. I am a civil engineer and spend most of my time at the computer or plan checking. The factory rep was there and tuned the ICD. I am not sure that I got all the information on what he did but as I understand it he lengthen the PM portion response time from 150 milliseconds [ms] to 300 ms to allow the lower chambers of the heart to contract naturally. And looking at the output, at rest sitting in the office, the lower chambers were contracting naturally.

Since the tune up I have felt light headed from time to time. There events are after going up a flight of stairs or doing some yard work. They pass by just standing and resting. If I stay on level ground.

I was wondering if the light headednedss is normal or usual after an ICD implant? Should I rest more, the ICD has only be in 9 days. Am I doing too much and should I take it easier? Or should the ICD eliminate the light headedness? Or does it take some time to balance the heart and the ICD??


can't help much....

by jobows - 2008-05-26 02:05:54

I do NOT have an ICD~ but did get a pm placed in early March. I did have the light headedness you describe and tiredness & etc... and my problem was that the settings weren't set to me. After MANY adjustments- I feel awesome now!

I would call your card & talk to them about it. I am sorry you are feeling bad- but hope it gets resolved quickly.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help~

follow up to my post

by ccmoore - 2008-05-26 03:05:42

Actually I don't really feel bad just an occasional light head.

After I made the post I did a lot of reading on the site and found that my symptoms are pretty common for new installations and that I need to keep getting adjustments, talking to the factory rep, the Dr and allow the ICD and heart to get to know each other.

The site is pretty encouraging and I expect to make a full recovery. It is just going to take a little longer than I planned. I am lucky to be able to go back to work so soon, love my work and the people that I work with.

Love the site and a couple of the jokes made me laugh out loud. Definitely will be buying some tee shirts.

Thanks, Charlie

Light Headed

by richan - 2008-05-26 04:05:16

Hi Charlie,
Like Jolene, I don't have and ICD - just a 2 lead PM. One thing that you did not mention is blood pressure - are you hi or low?
I have had mine "tuned" several times and I am pretty much able to do what I did pre-PM. I have low BP (92/58) and after hard swimming work-outs it drops even lower and I have to be careful about getting up too fast. My cardio told me that I need to hydrate a lot during and after work-outs.
I'd say that you sound like you are doing OK. I think working you way back to where you were is a good way to go. You will get there!!
Hang in there,


by LindaScarberry - 2008-05-26 07:05:30

I had my ICD put in the day before you! I'm not having light headedness... just seem to be pretty tired. My doctor told me on my check up that he won't do an adjustment for 3 months, unless I have a complaint. I'm 53, female and very active. So far, so good for me. Call your doctor and let them know what is going on... take care,



by jbkeys - 2008-05-26 07:05:47

I don't think you are doing to much, I would call the dr and tell them about it. I have a Pm/ICD and did not experience light headedness, I would not wait the 3 months, call asap. The setting could still be off. Take care of yourself and let is know how you are doing. jbkeys

Doing to much?

by joy1 - 2008-05-26 08:05:08

Hi Charles,

I have light headedness but it's caused from low blood pressure which is exasperated by the beta and calcium channel blockers I'm on. I too have an ICD/PM and am a 48 yo female also taking Toperal. I'm not very active anymore after experiencing an electrical storm; this is when a person receives a number of shocks in a short period of time. My settings were wrong for my arrythmias.

I would also say this about the Toperal. The research that I read on the drug indicates it will most likely cause an arrhythmic event within 2 1/2 months plus or minus a half month from starting it. So don't be surprised. The doctors don't say anything about, atleast mine didn't, which makes me mad but there is not alot I can do about it.

Good Luck, Remember to be a squeaky wheel!


Settings and meds

by ElectricFrank - 2008-05-27 01:05:15

A couple of comments;
1. It doesn't sound like the ICD part of your pacemaker is activating. From all the comments here you would know that from the jolt.
2. Since the light headedness occurs when you are increasing your exercise level I would suspect the upper limit setting. This one keeps showing with new implants. The default setting is too low (usually around 100-120) which kicks in when you start to walk uphill. At that point your body needs more blood flow, but the pacemaker says NO.
3. A similar problem that Rate Response is turned on unnecessarily or if needed isn't adjusted for you needs.
4. Talk to the doc about getting off the meds. Too often meds are tried before moving on to a pacemaker, but then are continued when not needed. They can cause all sort of problems.
5. And finally ask for a copy of the pre and post programming session printouts at each appointment. There are several of us here who can help you understand the settings.

To give some perspective to all this my limits were set to 70-120BPM at implant. I started walking immediately, but noticed funny things going on when I walked briskly. I started using a pulse meter and was able to do fine if I stayed under 120. I got real pushy about it and finally had mine set to 55-150, and Rate Response turned off. That solved the problems and I regularly camp in the Sierras at 8500' . Last summer I went Jeeping in Colorado over 13,200' Imogene Pass and hiked up to a lookout above there. By the way I'm 78.

Good luck. If you have any questions post them here or drop me a personal note.


follow up #2 to my post

by ccmoore - 2008-05-29 03:05:35

Thanks for the information.

FYI my BP was 135-145/75-85 before generic Toprol and has been 100-125/65-80 since being on generic Toprol.

I will get back to the doc and the factory rep about the comments that have been provided by members.


You know you're wired when...

Your electric tooth brush interferes with your device.

Member Quotes

I am 100% pacemaker dependant and have been all my life. I try not to think about how a little metal box keeps me alive - it would drive me crazy. So I lead a very active life.