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Anyone With A Recent Pacemaker?

Posted by: Peter Piatt on 10/04/2012 - 9:54 AM

Last night I found out that my mom needs to have a pacemaker installed. She is 71 this year and has never been good in being told that she has to have surgery or having to stay in a hospital. I know that today’s medical technology allows for inevasive procedures and was told that it is an out patient procedure (home in five hours).

Has anyone of you had or have a family member that recently had one installed that can offer any information, risks, and experience on having one?

Feeling a bit upside down today, good news, bad news, good news bad news…..


Oldest Reply

Posted by: Anne Norskog on 10/04/2012 - 10:11 AM

Hi Peter. There are several different types of internal cardiac pacemakers available, each addressing a specific set of needs. She sounds to be in good hands and I, for one, would not hesitate to have a pacemaker, should that need arise. Pacemakers are a huge help in keeping the cardiac rhythms in check...whether the heart is beating too slowly or too quickly or going into spasms of atrial fib or flutter. Some pacemakers are dual-chambered meaning they keep the heart beating correctly and are able to deliver a "jolt" should the heart go into an irregular, spastic and ineffective cardiac rhythm that, if not attended to, can be life threatening. We have all seen videos or movies or perhaps in real life someone getting shocked with the paddles. The dual-chambered pacemaker does that automatically.

Each patient must be tuned in. This usually requires a session of adjustment wherein the cardiologist gives the heart different sets of stimuli to see what causes what. Several of my family members have had pacemakers: one uncle lived to be 105 and his youngest brother, Uncle Nate, is now 97 and going strong. Good genes, obviously, but they both had pacemakers. Good medicine!


Posted by: Peter Piatt on 10/04/2012 - 10:22 AM

Thank you Anne for your experience and info. Do you know if it still hold true about not being near microwaves and airport security scanners???


Posted by: Isabella F Abbie Shores on 10/04/2012 - 10:25 AM


My neighbour, Audrey has one and it has changed her life! She is very elderly and walks off every day, catches a bus and goes visiting now she has one,. Before she was in an awful state just answering the door.

Wonderful things and she would tell your Mum that it is the best thing to happen to her since her fancy man was alive ;)


Posted by: Jane Schnetlage on 10/04/2012 - 11:03 AM

My dad had a pacemaker put in about 3 months ago. Outpatient- early surgery-home in the late afternoon. He was tired for a couple of days, then slowly back to normal. It has given him more energy - not hugely more- but enough we can see a difference. He is napping less during the day and walking a bit more. He is 87 and we are hoping for the best. We are overall pleased and I think you will be too. It's scary when aging affects our parent's health, isn't it? I don't know about airports scanners, my dad won't fly. But he has a microwave at home and I don't think he was ever told not to use it. We had tea the other day when I was visting and he heated in in the microwave. Hoping all the best for your mom.


Posted by: Dan Daugherty on 10/04/2012 - 11:23 AM


My Ex Mother in law had a pacemaker...She would run circles around my wife...Extremely active and healthy. She passed away recently at the old age of 95, still going pretty well. She is missed by all of us and her Grandchildren...An awesome active woman!


Posted by: Peter Piatt on 10/04/2012 - 11:25 AM

Thanks Jane and Elizabeth and Dan,
Mom was having dizzy spells when she walked up 5 steps of her mobile home and when she coughed, they place a monitor for 24 hours and found out her heart missed beats. She doesn't do much at all and tired all the time. She had a stent put in 8 years ago, and I had triple by pass 12 yrs ago, so she was worried that she might have to go through that also. Yes it is scary when aging affects our parents, especially now at her age and lives alone. I call her twice a week and drop by on weekends to check up on her. Last week a phone call came in around 10:30pm while I was sleeping, couldn't hear anything but bumping noises, low voice saying Peter, and scratches then a hang up. I called her immediately after that, she was wide awake and sounded good, I didn't want to worry her, so I just said that I was thinking of her and wanted to hear her voice.

Hope your dad and neighbor recover well. I hope this will also change her life, give her more energy and become more active rather than just sit around the house.


Posted by: Anne Norskog on 10/04/2012 - 4:51 PM

Sorry it has taken so long to revisit your post. The answers are: No and No. Microwave energy does not have any negative effects on a pacemaker. The scanners at airports do not cause problems for people with pacemakers, either. If she has certain types of medical tests, however, she must tell them prior to the start of any actual test. I am fairly sure her doctors will keep her safe when it comes to this aspect.

Keep us up to speed on your mom's recovery, Peter! (^_^)


Posted by: Joy McKenzie on 10/04/2012 - 5:56 PM

You cannot have an MRI done with an implanted pacemaker, but you can have a CT scan.


Posted by: Dindin Coscolluela on 10/05/2012 - 8:02 AM

My husband's grandmother had her pacemaker when she was 82. She had an erratic heartbeat and sometimes her blood pressure suddenly plunges really low. It stabilizes her heart beat. She's 97 now. She's still a feisty old woman who loves to dance the Rhumba every Wednesday night. :P

It's one of those medical technologies that we thank for, for making our lives more meaningful sharing with people we love.


Posted by: Peter Piatt on 10/10/2012 - 12:07 AM

Thank you all for your input, today we went to the pacemaker Dr. and he suggested three procedures, first to do shock her heart with paddles to see if it would help with the arrhythmia and dizziness (a bit of risk), it it comes back then should do the pacemaker. Second procedure is to insert two leads and into the heart and try to repair, but often it has to be done 2-3 times and risks are much higher that complications could arise. Third option is go straight to the pacemaker, but it's right now since it's not an emergency surgery, that it could take up to two months to get an appointment and approval from insurance. He suggests the shock treatment for now, and can do it in two weeks. So, now we need to discuss the options and choose to take the less drastic direction and hope it clears up, or wait two months and hope nothing happens in meantime. Nerves and thoughts are going to be scrambled for a while.


Posted by: Dan Daugherty on 10/10/2012 - 12:53 AM

I will be praying that everything comes out with good results. What a tough time and decision.


Posted by: Peter Piatt on 10/10/2012 - 1:27 AM

Yea, today has been a big mix of emotions and thoughts running in our head. Thank you Dan.


Posted by: Anne Norskog on 10/10/2012 - 10:32 AM

My advice? Go straight for the pacemaker procedure! Her cardiologist already knows she needs one. I would not waste anymore time or money on those other modalities. Of course, your mom will need to follow her own wishes and those of her family and physicians. Hang in there, Peter! God bless.


This discussion is closed.