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May Be Sporting A New Gadget

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njean

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Well, perhaps soon I too will join the pacemaker group as well. Not sure if I am suppose to feel good or sad about that yet.

I went for my yearly Echo in Houston, in May and while there didn't seem to be that great a change in my stats, my PH was worse and so was my A-fib. I was fitted with a Holter-Monitor for 48 hrs., sent home and then returned the study and monitor back to THI once it was complete. About 2 weeks later I received the results saying that my HRT was 67, which is good, but that my 3 sec. pauses at night were of some concern. Funny, but I don't find those numbers concerning! Should I?

They (THI) want to run another Holter study around last part of Oct. or November and see what the numbers are then. If they have gotten worse, they recommend a pacemaker. I know that all this stems from the fact that my mechanical mitral valve is malfunctioning and needs to be changed out but realize the tremendous risks that are associated with that. I feel, however, that they're trying to put a band-aide on a gaping wound!

Your thoughts are appreciated!

Take care!
 

knotguilty

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I don't know anything about them issues but I do want to wish you luck with it all. I will say it is never as bad as you may think it is and I hope that for you.
 

ottagal

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No advice, Norma, but I will offer a cyber hug!
Norma,
I, too wish I had some good information to share with you, but want you to know that I am also sending you a big hug and prayers that you feel confident and at peace with whatever is decided.
Would a second opinion be of use at this point in time?
 

njean

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I don't know anything about them issues but I do want to wish you luck with it all. I will say it is never as bad as you may think it is and I hope that for you.
I don't know much about Pacemakers either so I guess I need to educate myself in that area.

Thanks for the kind words & well wishes~! :)
 

njean

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Norma,
I, too wish I had some good information to share with you, but want you to know that I am also sending you a big hug and prayers that you feel confident and at peace with whatever is decided.
Would a second opinion be of use at this point in time?
I'm not really afraid of the possibility of needing a Pacemaker in the future....I just wish I knew more about what warrants one!

I have an appointment with my PCP coming up prior to going to Houston so I might ask him what he thinks. I have a lot of faith in him because he prescribes all my heart meds, gets my INR results, blood work, EKG's, etc., and knows that if anything comes up he can't handle, he'll be hooking me up with the best cardio here or send me straight to Houston.

Sending a BIG cyber hug to you too! :)
 

pem

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I'm speaking from ignorance here, but I think pacemakers are often put in to keep the heart going when it accidentally stops. If your heart is skipping a couple of beats occasionally during the night (if your hear rate is 67 and there is a 3sec pause, then it has skipped two beats), they probably want to make sure there isn't a trend in the wrong direction. But I think it would have to stop much longer than that (15-20 seconds) even just to render someone unconscious. Good luck sorting through all of this (you could always try going out of network for an unbiased second opinion).
 

JAMES W

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N Jean....My annual cardio visit last March gave the same results....LBB had shifted to a RBB.....eek....:eek2:...Easy fix, a pacemaker. Had it implanted and overnight stay....Has never given me any idea that it was doing anything, abeit a causing a lump in my right collar bone area. I even have it tested every three month via home phone. The battery will last quite awhile, better than a my car...lol. Do not fret what it isn't there....Peace
 
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epstns

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Norma, I have about the same view as James. I've had my pacemaker for almost 3 1/2 years now (ever since aortic valve replacement), and it has for the most part been a BIG non-issue. I'm not joking when I say that the only time I really realize that I have it is when I look in a mirror with my shirt off.

It sounds like your doc is recommending a PM mostly as "insurance" in case your heart stops for long enough to cause trouble (fainting, accidents, etc.), but that you will not really be pacemaker dependent. I think this is good insurance, especially if there is some chance that your pauses may become longer in the future. If that were to happen, your pacemaker would take over pacing your heart, and you would never even notice that it did.

The only time I had any issues with my pacemaker were at a time when I was highly pacemaker dependent and during a pacer interrogation (sounds like a cop or spy movie. . . ) a new electrophysiologist made some changes that I did not tolerate well. I ended up in the emergency room next morning to un-do those changes. Then, this past Monday, I had my semi-annual interrogation back at the original lab, and I think we found still one more setting that the dummy last year messed with that we re-set to what it had been. (We're trying adjustments to reduce my dependence on the pacer, to extend battery life.)

All this said, I'm just trying to put your mind at ease that having a pacemaker is no issue to any daily life activities. I still go to the gym 5 days a week and work out just as hard as I did before surgery. I even went mountain biking on Saint Maartin in May, and kept up well with younger participants. We are finding that pretty much all of my limitations in exercise tolerance are related to my meds (especially beta blocker), and not the pacer.

The only downside to the whole process is the movement restriction during initial recovery. They usually do not want you to move your left arm above shoulder-height for 4 to 6 weeks, to give the pacemaker leads time to attach via scarring. After that - have a ball!

BTW - If you have any questions or want to discuss "off-line" - just PM me.
 

tom in MO

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Can't give much other than anectdotal information. My mom had one and her experience was like James. She is thin and small and the lump looked like she had a thin small box of matches under her skin. However, it was not uncomfortable and she quickly got used to it. With hers, once a month she would call in and somehow over the phone her doctor's office downloaded some information to evaluate its operation and her heart.

Take care, don't worry. Remember, each new thing brings on the opportunity for a new success. As someone once said here "don't look at my scars and feel sorry, feel happy at all I've accomplished."
 

njean

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Norma, I have about the same view as James. I've had my pacemaker for almost 3 1/2 years now (ever since aortic valve replacement), and it has for the most part been a BIG non-issue. I'm not joking when I say that the only time I really realize that I have it is when I look in a mirror with my shirt off.

It sounds like your doc is recommending a PM mostly as "insurance" in case your heart stops for long enough to cause trouble (fainting, accidents, etc.), but that you will not really be pacemaker dependent. I think this is good insurance, especially if there is some chance that your pauses may become longer in the future. If that were to happen, your pacemaker would take over pacing your heart, and you would never even notice that it did.

The only time I had any issues with my pacemaker were at a time when I was highly pacemaker dependent and during a pacer interrogation (sounds like a cop or spy movie. . . ) a new electrophysiologist made some changes that I did not tolerate well. I ended up in the emergency room next morning to un-do those changes. Then, this past Monday, I had my semi-annual interrogation back at the original lab, and I think we found still one more setting that the dummy last year messed with that we re-set to what it had been. (We're trying adjustments to reduce my dependence on the pacer, to extend battery life.)

All this said, I'm just trying to put your mind at ease that having a pacemaker is no issue to any daily life activities. I still go to the gym 5 days a week and work out just as hard as I did before surgery. I even went mountain biking on Saint Maartin in May, and kept up well with younger participants. We are finding that pretty much all of my limitations in exercise tolerance are related to my meds (especially beta blocker), and not the pacer.

The only downside to the whole process is the movement restriction during initial recovery. They usually do not want you to move your left arm above shoulder-height for 4 to 6 weeks, to give the pacemaker leads time to attach via scarring. After that - have a ball!

BTW - If you have any questions or want to discuss "off-line" - just PM me.
Steve,

I believe you hit the nail on the head when you say that they’re using the pacemaker as “insurance” in the event the A-fib gets worse, which more than likely, will! I think they feel implanting a Pacemaker is a ‘piece of cake’ compared to subjecting me to a 4th OHS to change out that faulty valve!

They said they would be implanting a device that could be calibrated over the phone, similar to the one mentioned in James W’s and Tom's post. I don’t think however, that I’ll be in the hospital just overnight! Most of my overnight procedures, no matter how small, have turned into days due to INR issues! That’s what bugs me the worse!

And as for my daily life activities, there’s not too much going on anymore. I am happy if I feel well enough to take a short walk w/my pets and my camera, do some light shopping, housekeeping, cooking, gardening. My archery, biking, hiking are all memories now.

That said, I still thank God every day I wake up in the morning, enjoy my coffee outside and communicate with all you lovely people on the internet!

Thank you so much for sharing your information with me, Steve. I feel much more relaxed about everything! :)

Stay well! 
 

njean

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Can't give much other than anectdotal information. My mom had one and her experience was like James. She is thin and small and the lump looked like she had a thin small box of matches under her skin. However, it was not uncomfortable and she quickly got used to it. With hers, once a month she would call in and somehow over the phone her doctor's office downloaded some information to evaluate its operation and her heart.

Take care, don't worry. Remember, each new thing brings on the opportunity for a new success. As someone once said here "don't look at my scars and feel sorry, feel happy at all I've accomplished."
Thanks, Tom! The doctors said the device they'd use on me could also be calibrated over the phone. That's wonderful being that I live in New Mexico and they would be in Houston, so that will work!

Stay well! :)
 

njean

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N Jean....My annual cardio visit last May gave the same results....LBB had shifted to a RBB.....eek....:eek2:...Easy fix, a pacemaker. Had it implanted and overnight stay....Has never given me any idea that it was doing anything, abeit a causing a lump in my right collar bone area. I even have it tested every three month via home phone. The battery will last quite awhile, better than a my car...lol. Do not fret what it isn't there....Peace
I appreciate your feedback, James! I'm already feeling much, much better about the whole Pacemaker issue, thanks to the support from all of you!

Stay well! :)
 

DebbyA

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Norma,

I'm glad so many members have good information for you. I have nothing to offer but best wishes. You are a strong lady, and I have a feeling this will work out well.
 

njean

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Norma,

I'm glad so many members have good information for you. I have nothing to offer but best wishes. You are a strong lady, and I have a feeling this will work out well.
Thank you so much, Debby! I appreciate your well wishes.

Stay well! :)
 

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