Approx. 2 years ago at age 49 I was implanted with a pacemaker for Sick Sinus Syndrome. I've had 3 subsequent surgeries for lead and generator repositioning. This last surgery the leads were nicked and they had to be replaced. I've had quite a bit of discomfort around the pacemaker and the leads since this surgery. The pacemaker is positioned in my breast tissue because it protuded out of my skin when the pocket was up further under my clavical. Will this constant ache ever go away? It hurts to cross my arms to reach for something, to raise my arm to grab a can off a shelf -- any movements such as that. At times the area where the leads enter my vein under my collar bone is extremely painful. Is this normal? Does a cardiologist usually perform pacemaker surgery or is it done by a cardiac surgeon? And what is a "blunted heart sound"? Can a person be allergic to a pacemaker? I have a cardiologist appointment next week and when I ask him these questions he doesn't really take me seriously about the pain I'm having. Thank you so very much for your help it is GREATLY appreciated!
Yes, cardiologists usually implant pacemakers. I do not think that you have an allergy to the pacemaker. You are having a bit more discomfort than is normally expected. The leads could be rubbing up against your bones and ligaments and causing some of this discomfort, but if this is the case, the only solution would be more surgery, which would not be ideal, considering you have already had a number of surgeries. Other than repeat surgery, there is not much more that can be done, although you could try an over the counter pain medication such as ibuprofen.
Since your cardiologist does not take your complaints of pain seriously, have you considered changing doctors? I do not go to my doctor like I'm supposed to because he acts like my concerns are too trivial for him to deal with - he's the doctor, he fixed me, get out of his office. Unfortunately, because of the area I am in, my options are extremely limited (they seem to be non-existent). I would suggest you explore your options.
First of all and sorry docs..........but no one but an EP (Electrophysiologist) should be placing pacemakers and ICD's. I have worked in cardiology and was in on implants and most cardiologist's have surgeons make the pocket because they do not know how. They do not know about the every day malfunctions that pacemakers cause. This I am told, is because they just don't have the time to learn it all, that's why there are pacer reps to help them !! These reps are even in on most device implants done by cardiologists, not EP docs. Often cardiologists have this attitude of, "pacemakers are perfect and can not do anything wrong so just go home and shut up and don't bother me". BUT it is often those patinets that have severe device placement and setting issues that it was in fact placed by a cardiologist and not an EP doc. Do not waste your time, go to an EP doctor. Here is a site that you can search for one: www.naspe.org
Also I attend meetings in Minnesota that David Hayes has each fall and he is one of the giants in pacing and EP. I have met and spoken to Seymour Furman also the "guru" of pacing and he has published many many books. I had my second pacer placed by one of his partners in NY. I have had 3 pacers in 2 1/2 years and over 18 lead changes. I also run a support group for pacer patients. Many people mail me about pacer issues and then they get to a good EP doctor and they at that time find out what is wrong and they feel better. YOU MUST seek the advice of a doctor first and foremost, but do try to look up an EP doctor to see. If you want to mail me direct please do at: ***@****
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