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Pace Maker

Old 01-18-16, 08:10 AM
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Pace Maker

I ride my bike to work quite often, and don't usually go on any long rides over 20 miles. In July, while on vacation, I went for a walk early one morning. I hadn't gone far and just about fainted. Caught myself on a parked car. Didn't really think much about since i was on a trip and didn't have another spell for about 3 week. I quit riding my bike for fear of having on of these spells. I had a fourth one about September 25th and decided it was time to go to my doctor. He did an EKG and sent me to the cardiologist who sent me to Memphis for a pacemaker. I never felt bad before the pacemaker except when having one of those fainting spells and they only lasted a few seconds. Doctor said my heart rate was too low and irregular. I haven't had any spells since I got the pacemaker but I still haven't started back riding my bike regular. Hope to start back when the weather gets a little warmer.
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Old 01-18-16, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Nichols
I ride my bike to work quite often, and don't usually go on any long rides over 20 miles. In July, while on vacation, I went for a walk early one morning. I hadn't gone far and just about fainted. Caught myself on a parked car. Didn't really think much about since i was on a trip and didn't have another spell for about 3 week. I quit riding my bike for fear of having on of these spells. I had a fourth one about September 25th and decided it was time to go to my doctor. He did an EKG and sent me to the cardiologist who sent me to Memphis for a pacemaker. I never felt bad before the pacemaker except when having one of those fainting spells and they only lasted a few seconds. Doctor said my heart rate was too low and irregular. I haven't had any spells since I got the pacemaker but I still haven't started back riding my bike regular. Hope to start back when the weather gets a little warmer.
Did the doctor tell you to stay off of the bike? I wonder if a pacemaker will prevent your heart beating fast enough to keep up with even moderate exercise.
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Old 01-18-16, 09:45 AM
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Bob, I got my Pacemaker in May of last year after passing out while eating at a restaurant. It wasn't my first time. Waking up with a nurse taking your pulse (she was at the next table) and having 50 pairs of eyes looking to make sure you are alive is a special experience. My "spells" took me out for 20 or more seconds. Something had to be done for my peace of mind. I hope you did not have to endure the Tilt Table Test. I will go ahead and die before doing that one again !!

It took a few months to get used to the discomfort of having the pacemaker implanted but other than that I am happy to have it.

Please take some time to talk with your Cardiologist and let him explain exactly what the Pacemaker is doing. It will help to put you at ease. Mine set set for a low limit of 60 beats per minute. There is no upper Rev Limiter. When my heartbeat gets down to 60 BPM the Pacemaker actually increases the rate to 85 beats per minute for 30 seconds to make up for the loss of oxygen from the heart beating slower. I don't feel a thing. More importantly I am no longer anxious about blacking out.

My rides are usually 25 miles or less and I have had no issues since the implant. The legs and lungs give up while the heart happily beats away.

I hate that I had to have this procedure done but prefer the simple mechanical nature of the Pacemaker as opposed to trying drug after drug hoping to find the correct one for my condition and wondering about it's side effects.

Has your Cardiologist cleared you for exercise ? Ask him direct questions, after all you are the one paying the tab and he is working for you !

Are you out and about and walking ? If you can take a brisk walk an easy pace on the bike would probably be no problem. I have pushed up to a whopping 26 MPH for short periods of time with no issues other than I can only do that speed for short periods of time. I normally ride at 12-15 mph.

Just remember to stay away from flat top electric ranges and Ham Radio transmitters !!
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Old 01-18-16, 11:11 AM
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Went in the hospital on a Thursday night, the pacemaker was put in Friday, I came home Saturday, went to church Sunday, and back to work on Monday. I'm and engineer and land surveyor, so I walk quite a bit. I didn't drive any stakes for about 6 weeks. My pacemaker must be like yours- it increases my heart rate if it drops below 60. Other than the discomfort you mentioned I have not noticed any side effects.
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Old 01-18-16, 12:56 PM
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Doctor did not say to stay off the bike. The pacemaker just kicks in if my heart rate falls below 60.
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Old 01-18-16, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Nichols
Doctor did not say to stay off the bike. The pacemaker just kicks in if my heart rate falls below 60.
Cool. Thanks for following up.
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Old 01-18-16, 06:05 PM
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Bob, as said above, talk to your cardiologist about your cycling. I know folks with them implanted that ride regularly, should be no problem, but I/we know nothing about the particulars of your condition, best to ask the doc, and go with what they advise you to do.

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Old 01-18-16, 10:01 PM
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I had an ICD with a pacemaker implanted in Aug 2013. In my case it was for an arrhythmia (Ventricular Tachycardia) not bradycardia. I went in for an ablation to correct the V Tach but they were unable to totally fix it so I was told that it would be unwise to go home without the ICD (Implanted Cardiac Defibrillator) implanted since that type of arrhythmia can result in death. To put it mildly I wasn't happy about it but the alternative well you see what I mean. In any event I was told it was like having an EMT with with me 24-7. I was cleared to resume cycling but to moderate it.
About a year later I was taking medication for an unrelated condition but the meds exacerbated the arrhythmia and the ICD fired more than once. Always happened when I was riding so I limited my riding to thee trainer until the treatment for the other condition was finished.
Just about a year ago I had a second ablation that was successful. I haven't had an issue since then. Being able to continue cycling was very important to me and I stressed that point with my cardiologist. He really worked with me and respected my priorities. Now I'm riding over 9000 miles a year with a lot of intensity. You have to work with your Doc but it seems to me that you should be able to get back to it with a pacemaker it's actually safer than riding without one. At least in my case it was.
You might want to check out this link. Pacemaker Club - Support & Information For Pacemaker & Defibrillator Patients
Best of luck.
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Old 01-31-16, 01:46 PM
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I work for a medical device company that makes implantable cardiac devices. The majority of these devices have a feature that adjusts to accommodate higher heart rates during exercise. My company calls it rate response (different companies have other names for it). Ask your cardiologist if your device has this feature, it most likely does. You should have no trouble with exercise. There are many distance runners with pacemakers or ICDs who do marathons with no issues. I totally get the anxiety about working out when you have/had arrhythmia issues.

I also have a history of arrhythmias (exercise induced ventricular tachycardia). I had an ablation in 1991 (still investigational at that time) that was mostly successful. I've completed 17 marathons since 1991 without any issues. I had issues again in 2003 and had an implantable diagnostic monitor for a year and a half - I ran 2 marathons with the monitor. In fact, my cardiologist encouraged me to stay active but that was after extensive testing.
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Old 02-01-16, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by kevindsingleton
I wonder if a pacemaker will prevent your heart beating fast enough to keep up with even moderate exercise.
Pacemakers have sensors that suppress pacing when the heart's intrinsic rate is higher than a set level. Unless you've had an ablation to take the AV node off-line. In that case, a dual chamber, variable rate pacer may be used.
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Old 02-02-16, 07:08 AM
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I haven't had any problems with the pacemaker. I walk quite a bit in my work (land surveying). I have been surveying a hill farm and Thursday my Microsoft Band said I had walked 3.1 miles and climbed 57 flights of stairs. I think I can ride my bike OK.

Now my shoulder and arm are hurting and my hand goes to sleep. Doctor thinks it is a pinched nerve. Getting old is not for wimps.
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