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Severe Headaches post Pacemaker implantation
Hi, My wife has had a problem of Atrial Fibrillation for a while now, and even got operated for the same at Mount Sinai in New York. Recently she simultaneously developed Bradycardia, which became life threatening and hence she had to undergo a pacemaker implantation on an emergency basis.

Now while the pacemaker is working perfectly,and the heart doctors are happy with her progress, she seems to have developed a tendency for severe shooting headches that start from around her neck region and go on to the brain. She complains of them being there only in half the head initially, until it starts spreading to the full head and becomes even more unbearable.

We have gotten all the neuro check ups done, and touch wood there is no problem there. However the pain is not subsiding and we are trying to figure out what might be causing this.

Does anyone have any suggestions or similar problems that have been cured? Pls advise

Thank you.
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21064 tn?1309312333
Any chance she is having migraine headaches?  Do OTC pain relievers help, or has the doctor prescribed any medication(s)?  Good news on the neuro exams.
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doctors have ruled out migrane since she has never had that before. Pain killers are also giving her temporary relief only. we are still baffled by what the root cause of the headaches would be.

any suggestions?
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21064 tn?1309312333
Has the doctor determined what "kind" of headache she is having?  Tension, stress, cluster?   What about a reaction to medication, or blood pressure change?
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Her BP is surely on the higher side... but again thats been there throughout her life...
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I'm having the same symptoms.  Implant 8/28/09.  Surgeon said it was the first time she had been told about this side effect.  Nothing on the Web, and my GPd is mystified.

I found that when I eat the pain and pressure subside. If I'm active there is some reduction in the sense of pressure around my neck but the head pain dosen't persists.

If I get a response I'll copy you

Robbrian
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Sorry to hear your wife is struggling with headaches. I am unaware of anything on headaches directly related to pacemaker implantation, but I have seen a few anecdotes in the research literature of migraine and migraine like headaches and aura suddenly occurring in patients (who reported no history of them) post-ablation -- they seem to be particularly associated with transeptal puncture (poking a hole between the heart wall in the upper chambers). I have also heard from patients who had long term pain, soreness and "feelings of fullness" in their necks and heads post ablation and post ICD implantation. While I have no idea of the actual cause of this, I suppose it might be possible to have residual inflammation or nerve irritation from catheter insertion and manipulation. There are some major nerves in the mandibular region that often seem to "act up" when there is also pain or injury to the chest, arms and head. If she continues to experience these headaches, I would definitely keep pushing the doctors for answers and help with this as such pain can really interfere with quality of life. Best wishes and good luck!  
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i had a biotronic duel-chamber pacemaker implanted feb 2009, i need an icd due2having sick sinus syndrome&no circumflex artery.  the past month ive been getting extremely severe headaches that arent relieved by pain meds plus my back is hurting more 2.  im getting bradycardia despite the pacemaker & tachy is worse also extremely exhausted & still fainting alot.  my chriropractor, primary dr & neuro are all mystified.  any help would be greatly appreciated...
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967168 tn?1477588089
@Robbrian we were implanted the same day

I have had more of the soreness and "feelings of fullness" in their necks up to the back of my head.  My shoulder is a bit sore also but it could be from holding the way I have to.  

The soreness could be from surgeries last week or where they used paddles during surgery, I'm not sure and I haven't taken any meds since saturday morning, but I'm thinking of calling them and getting some.
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I was having severe headaches after an ablation and found out I was having junctional rhythms and had to have a pacemaker. I had them even after the pacemaker but the doctor reprogrammed my pacemaker and that helped. Maybe some adjustments just need to be made.They told me it would take a few times before they got it right.
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I was reading your post regarding your wife and severe headaches after pacemaker implantation.  My dad is experiencing the same problem.  Was your wife able to ascertain the cause of her headaches?  If so, what has helped?
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678312 tn?1310014174
I had an icd implanted 5 weeks ago for short qt and bradycardia.  My heart rate was extremely low but it never bothered me - I had tons of energy.  I had pretty severe headaches for the 1st couple of weeks.  It did minimize with activty.  The dr checked everything and it all tested ok.  This last week I've only had minor headches and only for short periods of time.  And, I have low blood pressure, 95 over 55.  

I think my headaches might be caused from going from 30 bpm to 60 bpm, like an adjustment period.    This might be the same for her.  Of course, they may have to adjust the machine also.  How long ago did she have the surgery?  
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i am 80 yrs and i have a pacemaker before 10 yrs and for the last 18 days i have headache and starts from my heart and i loss my conssious ness and fent for about 15sec
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My 84 year old mother just got a pacemaker after a fainting episode. It was recommended because her heart rate was low.  She had a PE study done and an MRI to rule out other things.  Everything seems to be fine except she occasionally experiences what she describes as a pressure on the top of her head, and she feels like she needs to sit or lay down.  She had the surgery about a week ago. Has anyone else experienced this type of "headache" or know what it could be? Thanks a lot.  
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I have an elderly friend who had a pace maker implanted for bradycardia about one month ago. She has suffered from migraines all her life, but now they are back albeit without the pain. She said that she suffers from the auras (not visual) that make her feel agitated and frightened. Her cardiologist gave her a pain medication for tension headaches and it is not helping. That doesn't surprise me, but I'm beginning to wonder whether these headaches are associated with a side effect of the pacemaker, surgery or a medication that was/is used during/after having a surgical implant. I'm going to continuing looking for research articles on this matter, but if you have already found them and know the answer, I would love to know. Thank you!
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I have had an ICD for 16 years now. I have googled everything I could think of to find an answer and others who suffer like me and this is the 1st time that I have found anything ever remotely the same. I have a pressure all around my neck at the base of my head and up into my head. I find it difficult to see and concentrate. I can't wear anything around my neck or necklaces or earnings. I have had my ICD off for 8mths as I was waiting for a new one to be implanted and during this time all the pain went. Previously I had been to everyone I could imagine to find out what was wrong and no answer. I have now had a new implant and 4 weeks on all the bad sensations have returned. It is all consuming and I just want to go and have the ICD switched off. It's like the energy from the machine can't escape up through my neck and head and its trapped. HELP what should I do.
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My husband received a pacemaker nearly a year ago.  Headaches are daily to the point he has not been able to return to work.  We have been to an ENT, Neurologist and regular MD.  He was recently prescribed pain patches and they have not help at all.  We have even been to a chiropractor.  We are at wits end.
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