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Pacemaker and soreness

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ElectLive

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I'm curious if anyone with a pacemaker has ever had a similar experience:

I had my second 6-month pacemaker appointment (interrogation, download, etc) recently and have had a mild soreness in the area of my heart ever since. It's nothing dramatic, I hardly notice it most of the time, but there is definitely something a little off, a little sore. No other problems, everything perfectly normal.

Now, during the appointment, they did the usual "Let's just turn the pacemaker off and see what happens" thing, and as usual because of my heart block, I could really feel it, and it was much more dramatic. Well, I thought, maybe there is some residual soreness/discomfort related to that? It was more pronounced the day of, and day after, then easing slightly over the last week. So, that was my completely novice guess anyway.

Now, I know the obvious answer is to call the arrythmia center, which I did. They did a remote check just to make sure everything was fine, and it was. No real medical explanation from them. No settings changes, no medicine changes, nothing that would explain it. They didn't buy into my guess that a heart in temporary distress would have residual discomfort, either, no matter how sensitive the patient.

Their best guess is that the settings are a little off, and just need to be tweaked. Something, the atrial pacing I believe, is at a higher percentage than it was in the past, so that's the targeted starting point. Still, seems a little odd to me how it would only happen immediately after a checkup.

So, just was curious if anybody else had ever experienced anything like this? Thanks.
 

epstns

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So far, nothing like that. I've had two scheduled pacemaker interrogations so far, and both times were non-issues as far as pain goes. The second time we changed some settings (allow higher max. heart rate and enable respiratory response function), and I can say that I do feel the effect of the higher max. heart rate. Aside from better exercise tolerance, I can sometimes feel my heart beating faster, when I don't expect it. Everything else is good, so I'll let it be until my next check-up in November.
 

ElectLive

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My first check, where they did pretty much everything the same, was actually at 3 months post-op. I don't remember any of this issue then, but at that time, I think I still had some not quite normal heart feelings fairly often due to the big renovation 3 months earlier. So, either it didn't happen at all then, or it did, but I didn't notice it, because of everything else being not quite settled down yet.

By the way, I saw you bring up that respiratory response function in the other thread, thanks for mentioning. I'm on an exercise bike mainly so curious to inquire more about that next visit. Some of the technology of pacemakers is fascinating, hope to try and understand more. I never would have guessed beforehand how much customization goes into some of the settings. One of the specialists I spoke to compared it to cooking and adding seasonings to get just the right "flavor" for each patient.
 

epstns

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EL - Very true. We're each a different concoction of settings, but isn't it cool that there is all that to work with?

Greg A suggested another site we can look into (I've already joined, but I don't post much there yet.). It is cardiacathletes.org. The site is hosted in the UK, I think, but the main administrator is also a pacemaker technician or expert. Many of the posts there go into some really interesting detail on pacer settings.

So far the only mild "negative" I've noted with the new settings is that it might now be a bit too easy to bring my heart rate up beyond its mid-range. I find that I can now often feel my heartbeat after short duration or light-ish exertion and it seems harder and faster than I'm used to. It settles down quickly and causes no issues, so I'm just going to wait a while and see if it has to do with pacer settings or just general remodeling. It's not that it is racing and pounding, but I sometimes feel it when I walk down one flight of stairs and plop down into bed. It settles down in seconds, but I just never noticed the rate elevation before.

I've also noted one other "back-handed" benefit of the pacer. I'm taking a beta blocker, metoprolol (generic Toprol XL) at 100 mg/day. Most patients who are athletically active would be complaining that this med keeps their maximum heart rate down too far to enjoy sports. Well, the pacemaker doesn't care what meds you're taking. The beta blocker seems to not have an impact on my heart rate. The pacer just takes over.
 

ElectLive

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Greg A suggested another site we can look into (I've already joined, but I don't post much there yet.). It is cardiacathletes.org. The site is hosted in the UK, I think, but the main administrator is also a pacemaker technician or expert. Many of the posts there go into some really interesting detail on pacer settings.
Thanks for the link
 
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