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Cycling experiences with a pacemaker/defibrillator

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Cycling experiences with a pacemaker/defibrillator

Old 06-16-20, 05:38 AM
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Pete1wray
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Cycling experiences with a pacemaker/defibrillator

A year ago I had a post-ride cardiac arrest. Luckily friends did CPR until my heart could be restarted with a defibrillator. Long story short, I ended up with an ICD implant in my chest. An ICD is a combination pacemaker/defibrillator. The pacemaker side of it controls my heart electrical signals and the defibrillator side is there to fire in case the pacemaker side loses control and then zaps my heart. The implant is made by Boston Scientific. So...the unit can be programmed to creat min/max heart rates, speed of electrical signals thru my heart and a lot of other things I guess I wouldn’t understand unless I was a cardiologist. However getting tall the settings right so that I can return to my old power and speed is proving to be a challenge. If it is set to be too sensitive I get a massive shock. Other settings seem to affect warmup time, acceleration and average power The unit can be reprogrammed relatively easily in a doctors office using a Bluetooth-like method, but the cardiologist and a Bos-Sci engineer say that cycling is too “smooth” for the unit and it’s accelerometers to function at optimal levels (I.e., it works better for runners). I am wondering if any others in the forum have pacemakers or ICDs and what their experience has been.
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Old 06-23-20, 06:38 PM
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I didn't want to be the first to answer, but it looks like I'm the only one.

I do have a ICD. Just a monitor. It was put in last October. I think the only reason was because I have good insurance. A couple months prior to that I'd been on a external cardiac monitor for a few weeks. In the follow up vist the doctor told me I have a very healthy heart. When I told him I'd wrecked a month before and had amnesia for 15 minutes prior to the wreck and to a varying extent till in the hospital room, he thought a minute and then said I was getting an ICD.

My wife was there, so I wouldn't win any arguments against getting one. However it still has just shown that I have a very healthy heart.

It does annoy me some when I lay on my side or try to scrunch up in tight places with my arms out front. Mine is about the size of a stubby pencil that you can't sharpen anymore.

Oh... and it hurts like heck when you get hit by a baseball in the chest or get in the way of an elbow.
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Old 06-29-20, 06:26 AM
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Thanks for your reply. I guess there aren’t many if us that have this problem. My ICD is about the size of a pack of cigarettes and about half as thick. It can be damn uncomfortable when I wear a seatbelt or try to sleep on my left side. One corner is particularly close to the top of my skin and sometimes it gets rubbed and chaffed by my clothing.
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Old 06-29-20, 10:58 AM
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So what do the cardiologist's tell you as far as cycling is concerned? If I'm not being too nosy.

Can you pretty much just go out and ride for as long and as hard as you feel able? Or do you absolutely have to stay below a certain HR level or Zone?

I don't have any restrictions from my cardiologist. So I many times will ride as hard as I can for several hours. Even when I'm going easy, I'm in LTHR Zone three and four for much of my riding time.

The doctors are trying to investigate a few times that I passed out over the years. However all those times were when I was not doing anything at all. Several incidents were when I was in very intense pain from cramps in what felt like every muscle group of both legs, feet and toes.

The cramping was not related to riding and was shortly before bedtime after a day of doing nothing. A medicine I had been prescribed recently was the cause of the severe cramps. Needless to say, I won't take that every again. Years before and after, I still have had some syncope incidents, but all when relaxed not doing anything other than having some episodes of various intense pain.

Personally I don't think I'm seeing the right doctors yet. None I've been to so far can find anything unhealthy about me.

Last edited by Iride01; 06-29-20 at 11:01 AM.
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