not sure yet

I am booked to have pacemaker on Friday. I am still not sure if I am doing the right thing here.I have been fainting a very long time yrs and they always said it was low blood sugar. In January after fainting 11 times in 2 days and weating a holter monitor, it recorded slow heart rate as low as 18 beats per minute on two different days. I was in shock of course hearing I needed a pacemaker. I decided to wait. I did not faint until may, then 4 times, June 4 times and now July it is up to 8 times. I have had alot of health problems. Beat breast cancer 11 yrs ago, have had hip replaced, legally blind due to histoplasmosis and I hate to deal with more.
Could they be wrong?
Should I wait?
How do I know I need this pacemaker now, for certain. Drs always leave it up to you to decide. Internet says long standing bradycardia can lead to complications causing fatal death? How long is long standing?
I am 55 and it seems to soon to do this and now after reading, see how fast I could need another. The leads needing changing - can this be dangerous, cutting away from the scar tissue holding them in? That scares me alot,
Please help me now. I do not have much time left.
Thanks to all who respond.


13 Comments

go for it, Chicky

by aldeer - 2008-07-27 08:07:28

Chicky, you are so very lucky that you have not had more serious injuries from fainting. I came close to dying from a serious fall and ended up in the hospital with surgery for bilateral subdural hemotomas... I have two holes in my head to prove it. When your batteries are changed, they do not change the leads, so it can be a very minor thing. It is very difficult to go thru all you have, but in this web site you find infants, small children, and teenages going thru it. They are alive and happy. You will also feel that way, so the only advice I can give you is "go for it". You can find out a lot of info at clevelandheart.org
or mayoclinic.com that will ease your fears. Lots of luck and you will be happy when it is all over..... aldeer

easier than everything else you've been through!

by Tracey_E - 2008-07-27 08:07:29

Um, a holter monitor isn't wrong! If it says you dropped to 18, you dropped to 18. If you stay that low, you are at risk for going into cardiac arrest. Compared to everything else you've been through, a pacemaker is really easy. Read through some of the other posts, you'll see that having it is very little inconvenience to your daily life. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about the surgery, recovery or living with it afterward.

Most of the time, only the battery is replaced. In the rare event you need leads changed, they leave the old ones in and put the new ones next to it, so there's no dealing with scar tissue. And batteries go in a pocket, so when it's replaced eventually (5-7 yrs is average, you could get more than that since you won't use it all the time) they just open up that old pocket so they're not getting into new tissue.

Be sure

by hturatram - 2008-07-27 09:07:11

I do think you need an implant. When my heartbeat went down to 20, I fainted. Being already in the hospital, my cardiologist told me I had no choice, the pacemaker was essential. Mine was done in February of this year;
I am doing much better but still fatigue easily. I am surprised that your doctors are leaving the decision to you. It must be the fact that you are in Canada, a different medical system. I was doing so poorly before the implant that I am grateful for the improvement even though I find the implant somewhat uncomfortable and
inconvenient. My nephew, who is a physician, claims it saved my life.
Perhaps you could get more information, from your doctors, that could calm your fears and answer you questions.
Good luck, Hturatram

Only two options

by ElectricFrank - 2008-07-27 10:07:24

Chicky,
At this point there are only two options: get the pacemaker or die. I say this seriously. A HR as low as 18 is doing slow damage to other organs in your body which will ultimately lead to death if cardiac arrest doesn't get you first.
Stop and consider what you are saying. You have a heart condition that is causing you to pass out regularly and threatens your life. With this in mind you are worried about the possible risks of having a pacer implanted. I wouldn't be surprised if some of your existing conditions improved with increased and reliable circulation. It's kind of like being in a crosswalk with a car bearing down on you and being afraid to jump out of the way because you might turn your ankle.

Having said all that I really do understand how scary it is to have so many things impacting you at once. Most of us are survivors and that instinct kicks in even if it doesn't make sense.

best of luck,

frank

chicky

by jessie - 2008-07-27 10:07:41

i am no dr. but my pulse was 28 on the day i had an e.r. implant. 2 days later i got a permanent dual lead medtronic. i had no choice. it was implant or cardiac arrest. i am surprized you have a choice. i was in 3rd degree heart block. i don't think it is because you are in canada . i am in ontario too just a different part. you say that you looked it up and it said other choice is sudden death from cardiac arrest. i fail to see how you have a choice. good luck . let us know jess

Hi Chicky

by embo - 2008-07-27 11:07:31

You have to trust in the people that are trying to take care of you. Let the experts help you. From what your saying it sounds like you need it more than anything.

Not sure.....

by Bionic Beat - 2008-07-27 11:07:38

Hi Chicky,

Other medical issues you've been through have nothing whatsoever to do with needing a pacemaker.

You need to ask yourself if it's normal to faint 11 times in 2 days.....

You need to ask yourself if they put pacemakers into people for no reason at all.....

Then you need to decided if you want to live or die.

That's it.

As others have said, it's a pretty easy choice if you wish to live, get it done NOW.

Electric Frank has pointed out that you might have a cardiac arrest or you could just be doing major damage to other organ systems, which will lead to either more illnesses or death.

We all have had much to deal with, none of our stories is pleasant but we are very supportive of one another, understand your reluctance to have more surgery, pain, etc.
but this is your LIFE.

Please get it done, then tell us all about it and we can all complain together...we can laugh and cry together, tell jokes, etc. because we're still ALIVE and others have not been lucky enough to have our chances.

A friend of mine, lost her 43 yr old brother to SCD last November, 2 days after his birthday. No warning, nothing.....we are the lucky ones, we have lil metal friends keeping us going. Hope you'll join us for the ride.

Bionic Beat

Your last sentence

by Pookie - 2008-07-28 02:07:52

Please don't take this the wrong way, but your last sentence answered your own question..."I don't have very much time left." You are 100% correct, you won't have very much time left if you don't get a pacemaker and soon!

18 beats per minute as already stated is clearly too too too low and effects your entire body...think of the oxygen not getting up to your brain and other major organs. I am shocked your doctor didn't rush you into the hospital right there and then!!!

In the end it is truly your decision, but my 2 cents worth is get the pacemaker and get it asap.

Pookie

BRADYCARDIA

by pete - 2008-07-28 03:07:10

HI again post deleted part of one sentence above. Should read- It will prevent your 18bpm life threatning low heart rate. Cheers pete

BRADYCARDIA

by pete - 2008-07-28 03:07:29

You only have bradycardia so the fitting of this type of pacemaker is the easiest with very little risk. It will prevent your life This is a absolute no brainer you are in urgent need of that pacemaker. Good luck . Cheers pete

I will make this a short one...

by ela-girl - 2008-07-28 06:07:19

I suffered with severe bradycardia and neurocardiogenic syncope (randomly blacking out) for 5 years before having my pm implanted via emergency surgery. My heart rate was 4 BPM!!!!!!!! My BP would be 60/40. Needless to say, I LOVE my pm and have a life again. I was 29 when I got my pm and now am 31 coming up on 2 years with my titanium buddy. I wouldn't change it for anything!!!! The docs are pretty sure if I had not come into the ER that day that I very well may have bit the big one while sleeping on the couch.

It will be okay! If you want to know more about my condition (kinda sounds like yours), private message me or read my past posts/replies about this.

Go for it!

ela-girl

I agree with ela

by bowlrbob - 2008-07-28 07:07:57

I have the same problem as her. My trip to the hospital I was 10 beats per min. Not good. I did not know i had any problems until that day. Since then My ep turned on my rate drop response. These are the times my heart rate drops to anywhere from 0 to 30 bpm. My metal friend then jump starts my heart rate up to 100 bpm. Keeps me alive and from passing out. I have over 600 of these episodes every 6 months. They started all of a sudden. I thought. I did pass out 5 times over about a five year period before the emergency. Just saying things can change quickly. So trust your Doctors and at least this will give them time to see if there might be any other problem. You don't want to find out the problem at an autopsy. Bowrbob

Get it!

by Paula - 2008-07-30 04:07:31

18 beats per minute? Get the pacemaker! My holter showed similar results and my doctor's immediate advice was to get a pacemaker. I took it and have never had a regret.

You know you're wired when...

You have a little piece of high-tech in your chest.

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