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Anyone run with a pacemaker? I may have to get one. (Read 169 times)

scottydawg


Barking Mad To Run

    I have been having some heart issues - got an A-Fib in my right ventricle, but am at low risk, per my cardiologist.  However, she had me wear a ZIO patch for 2 weeks to monitor my heart 24-7 to see if anything else was happening.  The results showed that my hear stopped a few times for about 5 seconds - but this only happened when I was sleeping, not when I was up and active.  The cardiologist is recommending a pacemaker be placed to correct this.

     

    I asked her if this just started recently or I have had it for a while.  She said no way to tell, because I've only had EKG tests and EKG will not show this result. So I said, well then, I could have had this already ongoing possibly for quite a while, and I seem to be doing fine. I did 90 races last year, am running well this year - I did a 4 mile hill run before my appointment and everything was just fine - so I really don't see the need for a pacemaker at this time.

     

    The concern of my cardiologist is that if this starts happening when I am awake I could potentially pass out, fall and hurt myself or if, say, I was driving, potentially crash and maybe hurt someone else.  Yeah, I get that; but I have not had any of that happen and I feel just fine.  I wish I knew how long this has been happening. If quite a while, then I think I would be okay.  If this just started, that's another story.

     

    Anyway, would appreciate any feedback and also any experiences of those who have a pacemaker, if any are here.  Thanks!

    "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt

    NorNev


      I wear a defibrillator, 6 yrs ago at the age of 52 while running between 40 to 60 miles a week I dropped from a heart arrest. After CPR, shocked with paddles 5 times I was in a coma for 5 days. Then 1.5 years ago I had open heart surgery to replace my aeortic valve. Still don't know why I went into arrest (maybe stress?)

       

      But anyways I'm back to running, I wear a heart monitor and just finished a 40 mile week and a 8.1 mile run

       

      Ive just been given a clean bill of health by my cardiologist and am happy to be alive, healthy and running!!!!

      Jawihan


        Scottydawg. I have had a pacemaker (for Bradycardia) for about 10 years now(I'm 74) and I am currently on my 2nd. one.(the 1st. lasted 8 years). I had gone to the hospital for some tests prior to a leg operation(varicosis). I was in good physical condition and still playing hockey 3 times a week with none of the symptoms that are normally expected!!!. I knew that I had a low heart rate all of my life but never had any symptoms. When they put the EKG on me, the technician became quite alarmed and called for the Dr.. Then they wheeled me to another room to be constantly monitored even though I told them that I felt fine. !!!. I watched the machine and my HR would drop to a low of 27 periodically then return to 40 or so.

        They called another hospital that did pacemaker surgery and was told to send me in asap. I persuaded the Dr. to allow my wife to drive me there rather than an ambulance. When I walked into ICU they couldn't believe that the patient was walking in on his own. I told them I felt fine and could do a couple of laps up & down the hall to prove it-haha.

        They operated and put a pacemaker in the next morning. The only difference that I felt was being slightly flushed for a few weeks. I went back to playing hockey after a couple of weeks with the Dr.'s ok. I have to have it checked every 6 months. I am not convinced that I ever really needed a pacemaker, however my situation may be completely different from yours. I don't think my heart ever stopped.

        They set the pacemaker for a low of 60 bpm & a high of 140!!!. After my constant badgering of my Dr., he had them set it to 50 low and no high limit. Unfortunately, the medical community puts everyone into the same parameter slot irregardless of the person's fitness ( Just like the 220-age stupid formula)  My MHR (from 5k races) is over 200..

        Considering your experience, you may wish to listen to your cardiologist but a second opinion may not be a bad idea.

        Oh yes, I noticed that you have been a runner for quite a few years. I started running (jogging) just over 2 years ago when I quit playing hockey, I do some cycling as well as snowshoeing in the winter.

        Wishing you good health (sorry for the long post)  Any more questions, please ask

        Jim


        Just a dude.

          My story:

           

          I turned 40, and did a fairly thorough physical, including a stress test on a treadmill. There was a small question with my heart beat, but they redid the test with the nuclear stuff, and passed me off as A-Ok. I was in decent shape.

           

          I continued to get into better shape. Not quite a year later I was running almost 80 a week and my resting rate was in the low 40s. I passed out driving down the road on my way home from work. I was out while I wrecked and waited for an ambulance. I was barely there when they took me out of the car. I drifted in and out on the way to the hospital. By the time I was inside, I was fine. They had me strapped to a back board that was really uncomfortable, and after I complained about that they gave me a cat scan to make sure all was ok. They discharged me about 3 hours after the wreck, with orders to see my regular doc before going to work again.

           

          Next day, my regular doc gave me the ok, but since I had lost consciousness, he wanted me to talk to a brain guy just to make sure all was ok. I was at home that evening watching videos with my son when I had what looked like a grand mal seizure. I was out for 7-10 minutes, and woke up just as the fire truck pulled up the driveway. I was out of breath, but otherwise completely normal. So I went to the hospital.

           

          That night at around 3am, with the EKGs all hooked up, I went full v-tach. I did the seizure thing again... They de-fibbed me a couple times at full power and were getting ready to do whatever is next, when I just woke up and kinda asked what everyone was doing in my room.

           

          Everything otherwise was completely normal.

           

          I got a defibrillator/pacemaker the next day.

           

          I think the people who put it in were used to 80 year old people dragging oxygen tanks around. They had me on so many beta blockers I nearly blacked out every time I stood up. I couldn't run or hardly any activity. I begged them to lower the meds, and as they did I got better. I got in decent enough shape to run a 5k, and the thing defibbed me 3x on the final sprint. I decided then to get an expert opinion, and traveled to find a cardiologist who specialized in athletes.

           

          They got my pacing figured out. (50 min, 220 max. Able to recognize far field without it counting as afib) and I got my meds worked out better.

           

          The theory was that there is some kind of problem with my heart that is only revealed when my heart rate gets really low. With the pacer, the heart rate can't get that low, and all is ok. 

          I've had the pacemaker almost 5 years. For 99% of my life, it doesn't exist. It probably won't slow you down or anything. Putting it in will force you to take a month off of activity or whatever, especially if it is the defibrillation style. Once it is programmed right, there is nothing to worry about.

           

          They tell me I am really lucky to be alive after the three incidents, especially when one left me ping ponging down the highway at 65 mph. My advice to you is go ahead and get it. It won't hurt you at all... (Plus, you can say you are a cyborg... ;-) )

           

          -Kelly

          Getting back in shape... Just need it to be a skinnier shape... 

          scottydawg


          Barking Mad To Run

            I wear a defibrillator, 6 yrs ago at the age of 52 while running between 40 to 60 miles a week I dropped from a heart arrest. After CPR, shocked with paddles 5 times I was in a coma for 5 days. Then 1.5 years ago I had open heart surgery to replace my aeortic valve. Still don't know why I went into arrest (maybe stress?)

             

            But anyways I'm back to running, I wear a heart monitor and just finished a 40 mile week and a 8.1 mile run

             

            Ive just been given a clean bill of health by my cardiologist and am happy to be alive, healthy and running!!!!

             

            Wow.  thanks for your feedback.  Glad you are healthy and doing well!

            "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt

            scottydawg


            Barking Mad To Run

              Scottydawg. I have had a pacemaker (for Bradycardia) for about 10 years now(I'm 74) and I am currently on my 2nd. one.(the 1st. lasted 8 years). I had gone to the hospital for some tests prior to a leg operation(varicosis). I was in good physical condition and still playing hockey 3 times a week with none of the symptoms that are normally expected!!!. I knew that I had a low heart rate all of my life but never had any symptoms. When they put the EKG on me, the technician became quite alarmed and called for the Dr.. Then they wheeled me to another room to be constantly monitored even though I told them that I felt fine. !!!. I watched the machine and my HR would drop to a low of 27 periodically then return to 40 or so.

              They called another hospital that did pacemaker surgery and was told to send me in asap. I persuaded the Dr. to allow my wife to drive me there rather than an ambulance. When I walked into ICU they couldn't believe that the patient was walking in on his own. I told them I felt fine and could do a couple of laps up & down the hall to prove it-haha.

              They operated and put a pacemaker in the next morning. The only difference that I felt was being slightly flushed for a few weeks. I went back to playing hockey after a couple of weeks with the Dr.'s ok. I have to have it checked every 6 months. I am not convinced that I ever really needed a pacemaker, however my situation may be completely different from yours. I don't think my heart ever stopped.

              They set the pacemaker for a low of 60 bpm & a high of 140!!!. After my constant badgering of my Dr., he had them set it to 50 low and no high limit. Unfortunately, the medical community puts everyone into the same parameter slot irregardless of the person's fitness ( Just like the 220-age stupid formula)  My MHR (from 5k races) is over 200..

              Considering your experience, you may wish to listen to your cardiologist but a second opinion may not be a bad idea.

              Oh yes, I noticed that you have been a runner for quite a few years. I started running (jogging) just over 2 years ago when I quit playing hockey, I do some cycling as well as snowshoeing in the winter.

              Wishing you good health (sorry for the long post)  Any more questions, please ask

              Jim

               

              Thanks, Jim, good info.  Yeah, that was what I was curious about that heart-rate set thing.  Not like I really go fast anyway - I do about 10 - 12 minute miles, it varies from run to run - but I do like my weekly hill workout and i don't want to get that to change.   Again, thanks for the feedback, very helpful.

              "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt

              scottydawg


              Barking Mad To Run

                My story:

                 

                I turned 40, and did a fairly thorough physical, including a stress test on a treadmill. There was a small question with my heart beat, but they redid the test with the nuclear stuff, and passed me off as A-Ok. I was in decent shape.

                 

                I continued to get into better shape. Not quite a year later I was running almost 80 a week and my resting rate was in the low 40s. I passed out driving down the road on my way home from work. I was out while I wrecked and waited for an ambulance. I was barely there when they took me out of the car. I drifted in and out on the way to the hospital. By the time I was inside, I was fine. They had me strapped to a back board that was really uncomfortable, and after I complained about that they gave me a cat scan to make sure all was ok. They discharged me about 3 hours after the wreck, with orders to see my regular doc before going to work again.

                 

                Next day, my regular doc gave me the ok, but since I had lost consciousness, he wanted me to talk to a brain guy just to make sure all was ok. I was at home that evening watching videos with my son when I had what looked like a grand mal seizure. I was out for 7-10 minutes, and woke up just as the fire truck pulled up the driveway. I was out of breath, but otherwise completely normal. So I went to the hospital.

                 

                That night at around 3am, with the EKGs all hooked up, I went full v-tach. I did the seizure thing again... They de-fibbed me a couple times at full power and were getting ready to do whatever is next, when I just woke up and kinda asked what everyone was doing in my room.

                 

                Everything otherwise was completely normal.

                 

                I got a defibrillator/pacemaker the next day.

                 

                I think the people who put it in were used to 80 year old people dragging oxygen tanks around. They had me on so many beta blockers I nearly blacked out every time I stood up. I couldn't run or hardly any activity. I begged them to lower the meds, and as they did I got better. I got in decent enough shape to run a 5k, and the thing defibbed me 3x on the final sprint. I decided then to get an expert opinion, and traveled to find a cardiologist who specialized in athletes.

                 

                They got my pacing figured out. (50 min, 220 max. Able to recognize far field without it counting as afib) and I got my meds worked out better.

                 

                The theory was that there is some kind of problem with my heart that is only revealed when my heart rate gets really low. With the pacer, the heart rate can't get that low, and all is ok. 

                I've had the pacemaker almost 5 years. For 99% of my life, it doesn't exist. It probably won't slow you down or anything. Putting it in will force you to take a month off of activity or whatever, especially if it is the defibrillation style. Once it is programmed right, there is nothing to worry about.

                 

                They tell me I am really lucky to be alive after the three incidents, especially when one left me ping ponging down the highway at 65 mph. My advice to you is go ahead and get it. It won't hurt you at all... (Plus, you can say you are a cyborg... ;-) )

                 

                -Kelly

                 

                Wow, you have had a time! Glad you are doing well now!  Thank you for the feedback.  That was the thing that concerned me most - not the heart stuff, but what it will do to my running.  Runners, right?  lol.  Not that I run that fast anyway, but I'd like to at least run the way I can run now.  Your info was very helpful.  Thanks!   I wish you all the continued success!

                "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt

                wolaco


                  link spam
                  sluggo


                  John

                    Hey you pacemaker people - I assume you are still there.

                     

                    Did you see a sudden drop in speed after the pacemaker installation?

                     

                    Can I hope to get some speed back?

                     

                    I dropped a lot of speed and after 6 yrs (OK that means I am older at 68) speed has dropped even more. Zippy or not, I intend to keep on plugging.

                    John
                    www.wickedrunningclub.com

                    In the beginning, the universe was created.This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

                    --- Douglas Adams, in "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe"

                    Jawihan


                      Hi John, I'm still here with my pacemaker but I can't answer your question as I wasn't into running when I got my pacemaker. I had the first 1 for about 9 years and my 2nd. one since April 2015. I started running shortly after that. Previously, I had been playing pickup hockey in winter and cycling in summer. The pacemaker didn't seem to have any adverse effect on those.. Now I have been off running for almost a year due to plantar fasciitis and I'm trying to get back at it again. However, at my age(75) my best times are certainly behind me and my ambition now is to run injury free irregardless of pace.

                      I'm sure you'll do fine even if you can't maintain the pace you could do previously. The important thing is you are still running.

                      Cheers

                      Jim

                      sluggo


                      John

                        Jim,

                         

                        You are an inspiration! Running at 75 is a grand target.

                         

                        Hi John, I'm still here with my pacemaker but I can't answer your question as I wasn't into running when I got my pacemaker. I had the first 1 for about 9 years and my 2nd. one since April 2015. I started running shortly after that. Previously, I had been playing pickup hockey in winter and cycling in summer. The pacemaker didn't seem to have any adverse effect on those.. Now I have been off running for almost a year due to plantar fasciitis and I'm trying to get back at it again. However, at my age(75) my best times are certainly behind me and my ambition now is to run injury free irregardless of pace.

                        I'm sure you'll do fine even if you can't maintain the pace you could do previously. The important thing is you are still running.

                        Cheers

                        Jim

                        John
                        www.wickedrunningclub.com

                        In the beginning, the universe was created.This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

                        --- Douglas Adams, in "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe"

                          All of you are an inspiration.

                           

                          Okay, carry on.

                          6/1/19 Loco 100k, CA

                          6/22/19 Mt. Shasta 50k, CA

                          7/20/19 Tahoe Rim Trail 50, NV

                          9/6/19 Hallucination 100, MI

                          Notne


                            Remember, a pacemaker can't slow your heart beat down, except in very rare/unusual circumstances. It's essentially a one-trick pony to keep it from going "too slow", and it generally is excellent at doing that. It's a device used to increase the natural heart rate under certain circumstances, virtually never to decrease it. 

                             

                            That "upper limit" they program that has been mentioned in previous posts (like the 140 BPM mentioned above) usually describes one of two things, neither associated with "keeping the natural heart beat from going above 140 BPM", for example.

                             

                            The first thing the "upper limit" (140 BPM in the example mentioned above) can be used for is to put a ceiling on how fast the pacer will push your heartbeat if the other things it measures makes it think it should be higher than it  "naturally" is beating. For example, if you're breathing 50 times a minute, and/or your torso is bouncing up and down drastically and quickly (both things that might occur during a hard run), but your "natural" heart beat is noted by the pacer to be only 61 BPM, the pacer might push the HR up to maybe 80 BPM, maybe 100 BPM or even 140 BPM or higher (depending on the programming choices the doctor made). So the pacer may pace the heart so the HR was higher than it's "natural" 61 BPM … but no higher than the value chosen by the physician as the "upper rate limit" (often set to that 140 BPM, almost as a default).

                             

                            The other thing the "upper limit" (e.g., 140 BPM in the example mentioned in the previous post) is used for is to limit on how fast the top heart chamber can "tell" the bottom chamber to beat.

                             

                            So in neither circumstance is the "upper number" used as a limit to slow down/limit how fast the natural heart rate.  As might be assumed, there can sometimes be too much of a good thing - can't just mindlessly say, "Set it to 250 BPM, BOOM, let's go!". Smile

                            sluggo


                            John

                              Thanks for the reminder - and - 250 BPM BOOM sounds more like gone dead than let's go.

                               


                              So in neither circumstance is the "upper number" used as a limit to slow down/limit how fast the natural heart rate.  As might be assumed, there can sometimes be too much of a good thing - can't just mindlessly say, "Set it to 250 BPM, BOOM, let's go!". Smile

                              John
                              www.wickedrunningclub.com

                              In the beginning, the universe was created.This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

                              --- Douglas Adams, in "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe"

                                All I know is a few dozen people with pacemakers run the Medtronic (Twin Cities) Marathon in Minneapolis/St Paul every year.

                                 

                                You can basically get free entry if you do.

                                2017 goal: get in shape to actually train in 2018.

                                2017 goal: get back to 7 min/mile easy runs.

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