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Old 02-03-2024, 05:17 PM   #1
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Pacemaker for the Heart.

I will have a pacemaker installed and am curious if others have one. If how has it, if at all, impacted your travels and or camping.

Thanks
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Old 02-03-2024, 08:26 PM   #2
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Urnmor, Welcome to the club. Got mine on Sept. 9, 2022. I won’t forget that date since it was our wedding anniversary, our 50th! Yeah, not the best way to celebrate but on the other hand, it ended pretty well.
I have had absolutely no trouble with this thing. I am doing not just fine, but great. Mine is remotely monitored and sends information to some central data collecting place. If something goes wrong it will report to my doctor. So far, so good. It hasn’t stopped our travel plans. We are looking forward to getting back out this summer. Best wishes to you and yours. We live in an amazing time.
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Old 02-03-2024, 10:41 PM   #3
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May I ask what conditions led to your pacemakers? If that's too much, I apologize. I was recently diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia and beta blockers aren't handling it. I don't know what is in my future...abalsions or pacemaker???? We haven't had those discussions yet. I guess next is to see a cardiophysiologist.
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Old 02-04-2024, 01:55 AM   #4
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My 80 yr old Dad suffered from COPD (AAC gave flight crews cigarettes during mission debriefs…he was 24 back then and smoked until he was in his late 60s) and while recovering from bypass surgery (literally checking out of the hospital) suffered a heart attack in the hallway (fibrillation) and they worked on him almost 15 mins (a passing cardiologist just happened to be in the same hallway…who later told me he was virtually about to give-up when, in his words, “a doctor greater than us stepped-in” …) This was in 2000.
They implanted a pacemaker/defibrillator and they changed it a couple years later because it shocked him unnecessarily twice (while driving a car …which gave him some degree of dissatisfaction). He lived and walked a mile each day for another 7 years, generally doing quite well except for that COPD.
His only trouble while traveling was with airport security, when he was traveling to his flight-crews’ 55th reunion, who scanned and patted him down to the point he refused to get on an airliner ever again. (3 plane-changes each way on that trip and TSA was highly suspicious of an 81 yr old white man after 9-11)
I believe TSA is better at that job these days.
Otherwise, he had a good 7 more years, the most trouble for him was in the last year, primarily a result of the COPD/breathing issues. The pacemaker/defibrillator caused him no further issues.
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Old 02-04-2024, 07:23 AM   #5
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Thank you for your comments. As a 79 YO and will be 80 in sept. I am of course curious as I want to continue to enjoy life. It is glad to know that it has not impacted plans as we have an ocean voyage in April, camping trip close to home in May and maybe an OCS reunion in June in Louisville KY.
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Old 02-04-2024, 07:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
I was recently diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia and beta blockers aren't handling it. I don't know what is in my future...abalsions or pacemaker?
I would recommend you get an appointment with a cardiologist as soon as possible, as you probably know ventricular tachycardia can kill you.

My late husband was in “V-Tach” when the EMT’s arrived, and by the time his heart was returned to normal sinus rhythm he had been without adequate oxygen about 45 minutes. Too long.

He was on beta blockers, there’d been no talk of a pacemaker, but V-tach is an arrhythmia during which your heart is not perfusing blood and oxygen thru your system.

Those around you should know basic CPR, and might also consider getting a portable defibrillator.

Sorry for the small speech, but this struck a nerve.

Good luck, folks.

Maggie
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Old 02-04-2024, 07:41 AM   #7
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Pacemaker for the Heart

Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
May I ask what conditions led to your pacemakers? If that's too much, I apologize. I was recently diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia and beta blockers aren't handling it. I don't know what is in my future...abalsions or pacemaker???? We haven't had those discussions yet. I guess next is to see a cardiophysiologist.
Absolutely do not mind. I am 79 yo and will be 80 in September. Reading your comments it appears you have the opposite of my issue which is a slow heart rate. I have always had a slow heart rate probably because of exercise and I have known for a long time that I had a 2nd degree heart block. Recently I found out I have had a couple of 3rd degree heart blocks which are the worse. (I have a remote cardiac device in my chest that monitors my heart rate. It has been in for about 6 months. The reading on the last report showed the 3rd degree). From what I understand both your and mind are caused by faulty electrical impulses. I am looking for the pacemaker to keep my heart rate above a minimum number of beats when I sleep

I hope this answers your question and good luck with your decision
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Old 02-04-2024, 08:52 AM   #8
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Thanks Maggie and Urnmor. I wore a monitor for a week and it did show a dozen (although I felt hundreds of "palpitations) svt events lasting an average of 13 beats at 179 peak bpm. I then had an ecg, which, fortunately came back normal, for a 63 year old.
Yes urnmor, it is the "opposite" of your issue and is an electrical issue. My current issue is, I am not sure I have enough headroom for an increased dosage of metoprolol succinate. I have been monitoring my BP and heart rate several tes a day. BP is not too low, but heart rate is down to the low to mid 50s 3 hours after dosing. Morning hr has been as low as 46 bpm. There are other meds to try.
To your question, I have no current restrictions to any activities....including my annual wilderness canoe trips. But, I am 16 years your junior and, apparently, have little to no underlying heart disease......yet.
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Old 02-04-2024, 09:21 AM   #9
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Ok, so I have more to share.

I was having frequent premature ventricular contractions while in the hospital with a small stroke about 6 years ago.

I’d had them for years, been told they were “benign”, but stress of any kind increased their frequency.

A full cardiac work up was done, and although the pvc’s were annoying and would sometimes keep me up at night, they were determined again to be “benign”…no heart disease, no heart attack, etc., no underlying pathology with my heart, which was actually good to know.

My PCP at my request for something to address them had given me a low dose of Carvedilol, to try to manage them, but his disinterest in actually reducing their frequency led me to see a cardiologist.

After my initial appointment with this practice, I was referred to a young doctor there whose specialty was electrical issues with the heart.

He said I was having strictly “electrical” issues, not the kind which in and of themselves could lead to my death, and he said my low dose of the beta blocker (Carvedilol) had left me “inadequately blocked”.

He doubled the dosage, saying Carvedilol attacks the stress hormones in your body, which are a causative factor for benign pvc’s, and the doubled dosage knocked them out. Bam.

I still take it, still have some pvc’s, but they are comparatively few.

So, should this be of help to you.

Maggie
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Old 02-04-2024, 09:29 AM   #10
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Having worked a year or so in a cardiac care unit years ago, I learned while there that these beats originate from places in the heart where they should not.

Where the pulses come from, and where they land relative to your proper heartbeat determine their threat to throwing your heart into a potentially fatal arrhythmia.

Which is what took my husbands life…Sudden Cardiac Death, V-Tach which was not converted for about 45 minutes, during which time the only oxygenation of his system occurred from manual and then mechanical cardiac compressions.

A portable defibrillator applied soon after he was stricken may have saved his life.

Maggie
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Old 02-04-2024, 12:54 PM   #11
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Thanks Maggie. I suspect your experience is where I'm headed. More testing and finding the right med and dose. So far my MD and the cardiologist who reviewed the ecg don't seem too worried.
One thing I have done since arriving at a "certain age" is carry a personal locator beacon. They work anywhere on the planet and if you activate it the cavalry is coming. I bought it for wilderness trips, but carry it in the AS, as cell service isn't always reliable.
I personally think everyone should have one who ventures to remote places.
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Old 02-04-2024, 01:33 PM   #12
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A year or two ago, before I turned 50 or so, I’d have scrolled on past this, not given it much thought.

A bit over a year ago now, awoke in the middle of the night, took a minute to wake up, wondering why I felt funny…. finally realized my pulse was cranking at 130bpm, but it soon settled back down to its normal 60bpm. Odd, I thought, but forgot about it by morning, wrote it off as having had a bad dream or such. A month or so later, did it again, to which I thought, maybe I should talk w/ my doc, but by morning, forgot about it, again. The 3rd time it happened…. that time, I thought to throw my Apple Watch onto my wrist, and that time it flagged potential a-fib. Ok, next morning, called the doc’s office to schedule an appointment.

It’d been since pre-covid that I’d gone in for a physical anyway; he was tickled to see my weight down (I’d been up over 300 before covid, was down to closer to 200). But upon hearing about my watch reporting a-fib, he had an ekg done while I was there, sent me down for labwork. Next day, get a call from the pharmacy, my prescription is ready… I don’t have any? But sure enough, I called, results came in. my cholesterol had jumped, I needed a statin. Then I get a call to come get a monitor to wear for a week. Then I get a call to come in for a stress test. But the specialist, she insisted on a chemical. Said that looking at my ekg, I had a, lower left branch bundle block, and she thought a treadmill wouldn’t be valid. Back to the doc’s office after 3 months after the first visit, ready to hear all the results.

Well, he put the heart stuff aside: said sure, I have an intermittent a-fib, which is more challenging to pin down than a consistent one, but heart function is fine, no blockages, but, based on the labwork: I am newly diagnosed as type 2 diabetic, sigh….

Grandpa had his first heart attack at 39, eventually died of one at 71; dad had his first angioplasty at 39, has since had several more and a triple bypass, is now 80. I had counted myself ‘lucky’ making it to 50 without any problems, well, they all showed up now. Big change in diet, new drugs…. The a-fib had only occurred once or twice more in the past year, it’s just for a moment, then returns to my usual. But it was sure eye-opening.

But, to me, it’s now more essential to push ahead with travel plans, to not put any off. I’ve got places to go, things to see, so we’re cracking on it. I’m not retired yet, still have another 10 to go most likely, but I’m going ahead and ‘practicing’ at being retired, now.

Hang in there.
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Old 02-04-2024, 05:03 PM   #13
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Urnmor, I had to have a pacemaker installed after open heart surgery to replace a valve. Way back in 2000, yes the dreaded Y2K, my mitral valve just decided to stop working. The tethers broke so half of it was flopping in the wind. I had been skiing with my daughter and the very next day went back to work. Couldn’t walk the length of main hall way at school without panting and needing to rest. After it got worse, I finally went into the minor emergency clinic after work. They couldn’t find my pulse. I ended up having a repair done via a scope. The doc told me it would last at least 8 years. It lasted for 22 and was so bad they had to replace it. I had open heart surgery to put in a “new” one, repair another and that was it. The problem with these kind of surgeries is that cutting into a heat sometimes upsets the electrical path ways which makes beating a bit of a challenge. They put me on a thinner back in 2000 just in case some A fib developed and it didn’t. This time my heart just wouldn’t beat like it should. They said I had a total blockage, the electrical type, so they wheeled me. Back in 2 days later and put in the Pacemaker. After a month of monitoring, my heart was beating like it should so they took me off the thinners again. I am, as they say, good to go. The implanting of the pacemaker was a non issue. You go in, you go to sleep and you wake up with this amazing device working in your chest. It has been a couple of years now, I am 72 and feeling really good. Every case is different, you need to listen to your cardiologist. If you have questions he or she can’t answer, get a second opinion. Best wishes. You are going to feel much better once they get all of this dialed in. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.
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Old 02-04-2024, 06:02 PM   #14
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I was PMed about the PLB. This is the one I have. Ther are a number of brands and models, however.
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Old 02-05-2024, 04:16 AM   #15
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I have the Find My Friends app on my IPhone, my location on with the grands, both of my kids and a couple of others.

As long as my phone is up and running, they can see where I am at any time, and if you call police from your phone they can fairly quickly pinpoint your location.

I also have an Emergency button on my Lock Screen, which can call 911 and simultaneously alerts my son that 911 has been called.

Some preparation for an emergency is a good thing.

Maggie
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Old 02-05-2024, 06:17 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by urnmor View Post
Absolutely do not mind. I am 79 yo and will be 80 in September. Reading your comments it appears you have the opposite of my issue which is a slow heart rate. I have always had a slow heart rate probably because of exercise and I have known for a long time that I had a 2nd degree heart block. Recently I found out I have had a couple of 3rd degree heart blocks which are the worse. (I have a remote cardiac device in my chest that monitors my heart rate. It has been in for about 6 months. The reading on the last report showed the 3rd degree). From what I understand both your and mind are caused by faulty electrical impulses. I am looking for the pacemaker to keep my heart rate above a minimum number of beats when I sleep

I hope this answers your question and good luck with your decision
My dad had a very slow heart rate. He eventually became “pacer dependent.” He went through at least three pacemakers by the time he hit 90. We were fortunate he had a very good electro physiologist. A cardiologist specialist so to speak. Often called a EP. He put the best leads (the wires that go to the heart from the pacemaker) in that were available. So when his pacemaker needed changing out, the leads were still good. On one Change out the put the pacemaker beneath the muscle, rather than just beneath the skin. I believe my dad really preferred it there, beneath the muscle. The technology has changed very much over the years. The devices are much smaller than they used to be, and do much more. As with anything medical, I’d do research. Find a EP and a hospital that has done a lot of implants. Also, some teaching institutions still allow the implanting physician to select the proper implant for a given patient. While others hospital organizations have gone out to bid, and implant the least expensive implant they can find. Have an advocate with you that will ask questions and take notes.. Not all Drs and hospitals are the same.
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Old 02-05-2024, 09:44 AM   #17
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I will post what happened to me. So far no pacemaker. When I was in my late 40’s I had afib. I didn’t even notice my heart racing and was doing all my normal stuff. Biking etc. My Dr. found it on a regular work physical. First they shocked me back into rhythm and that lasted about 3 months and it came back. The next step was ablation. I’m turning 54 and so far so good. My father also had afib but it was cancer that got him.

If I was to get another ablation I would look into a procedure called Modified Maze procedure. It was kind of new when I needed mine so I didn’t get it then.

The only thing I noticed was I was having frequent diarrhea when in afib. I’m sorry if that’s TMI but it’s the only thing I noticed when in afib. I never noticed the heart racing until I was back in rhythm and more focused on it.
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Old 02-05-2024, 09:49 AM   #18
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I feel it frequently...but they said there were only 12 instances in the week that I wore the monitor. Feels like a mischievous alien lives in my chest.
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Old 02-18-2024, 09:44 AM   #19
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I’m on my third pacemaker - and all is good

My first pacemaker was a Medtronic implanted because I had sick sinus syndrome - my heart was pausing and my resting heart rate at night was in the low 30’s. Although I was apprehensive, the implant went smoothly and my wife was relieved that I wasn’t going to faint unexpectedly. Since then I’ve had two more as the batteries have run down. For me, the Medtronic pacemakers have lasted about 8 years each. The Boston Scientific, most recently implanted, is supposed to have a longer life, we shall see. Other than a bit of tinkering with settings after my first pacemaker was implanted everything has good smoothly. It has much improved my life, we have travelled extensively in North America and Europe
And never a worry.
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Old 02-18-2024, 09:49 AM   #20
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I have the Find My Friends app on my IPhone, my location on with the grands, both of my kids and a couple of others.

As long as my phone is up and running, they can see where I am at any time, and if you call police from your phone they can fairly quickly pinpoint your location.

I also have an Emergency button on my Lock Screen, which can call 911 and simultaneously alerts my son that 911 has been called.

Some preparation for an emergency is a good thing.

Maggie
That’s a good idea…as long as you have a cell signal. We purchased a Garmin In-Reach as a backup for when we are in more remote locations.
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