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Anyone have any experience with pacemakers?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My papa was in hospital yet again after we saw him on Christmas day, i was told he fell over in the toilet (though there is barely any room to move in there and they've go the whole handle/seat thing installed). So i was told he had a pacemaker installed. I'm assuming it's permanent. And it was under a local, because he surely could've died under a general. It turns out, he didn't even remember the procedure, that's how bad his memory is!

So i've read all they do is thread the two wires through a vein via the neck ir shoulder till they are in the heart chambers, and the pacemaker is settled into a pocket of skin on the chest above the muscle. What i want to know is, for someone with an extremely bad memory, is there any sort of maintenance that is eon by the patient, or just the doctor? It's got me very worried. He's 88, he can remember stories from the war back 60 or so years ago, but he cannot remember a face or something he did not a minute ago, or where he is or has to be reminded of something he needs to do.

He ends up in hospital a few times a year now, he's kept a list of all the operations he's had in his life (re:ALOT), and even though most days now he isn't running around and bright, he's outlived all of his friends. Sometimes i wonder why a man who believes in god so much, is made to suffer. I don't believe in god, but i know my papa does not want to be like this, i think he wonders why too.

If anyone has any first hand experience or second hand, can you settle my mind?
post #2 of 13
I was the caretaker of an elderly lady that had a pacemaker. They can be removed, so they aren't permanent per se...If they need adjusting, only the Dr. can do that, either electronically or by removing/replacing it. Your father doesn't need to do a thing.
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragoriana View Post
What i want to know is, for someone with an extremely bad memory, is there any sort of maintenance that is eon by the patient, or just the doctor?
The following link will help you

Caring for a pacemaker
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by taterbug View Post
I was the caretaker of an elderly lady that had a pacemaker. They can be removed, so they aren't permanent per se...If they need adjusting, only the Dr. can do that, either electronically or by removing/replacing it. Your father doesn't need to do a thing.
Sorry he's my grandfather, we just used the word papa but it's not quite pronounce pa-pa but po-po.

Anyway, thank you for that bit of information tater
post #5 of 13
My Grandma had one.
She did have to go to the dr and have it adjusted.
She also was not allowered to go through metal detectors.
post #6 of 13
My father had one, and it made a big difference in how well he felt for many years. They should schedule your grandpa for regular tests (every few months) to be sure the pacemaker is working correctly, and that it's still adjusted appropriately for his needs(which can change over time). Testing can actually be done over the phone in some cases, but if there's a testing facility nearby, it's much better to do it in person.

I hope this does as well for your grandpa as it did for my father!
post #7 of 13
MRIs and CT scans will be off limits. On of the members of a dysautonomia forum I'm on has a pacemaker and was told a MRI would be fine - her pacemaker went nuts from it.

I suggest you talk to his doctors. At the very least you need to become familiar with them and know what sort of care they will be providing.
post #8 of 13
my dad is possibly going in for one tyhis year after having a few problems in '08. i think he is worried about it, as i am too, but im assured its fairly routine?

its not just an old peoples thing, my brother has 3 lads at his work who all have them and they are all a similar age to me (26)

also i believe that tony blair (our ex-primeminister) also had a pacemaker, or certainly had some heart trouble and had to be hooked up to one of those moniters you carry around for 24 hours to check you out, so i believe (and hope) that were worrying for nothing.

hope the fella does well!
post #9 of 13
There are a couple different types of pacemakers. A 'demand' pacemaker senses the heart's rhythm, and only fires when the heart slows enough to need it paced. Another type is called an AICD (Automatic Internal Cardiac Defibrillator.) This type of pace maker is implanted when a person's heart fibrillates, and needs to be 'shocked' back into a normal rhythm. Dual chamber pace makers usually have a lead into one ventricle and another lead into an atrium. Single lead pacemakers, only have one lead, and it can be either the ventricle or atrium. Yet another type of pacemaker will pace all the time, regardless of the patient's heartbeat. Since pacemakers are made with metal, your papa can no longer have an MRI. If he requires surgery in the future, his surgeon should be told that he has a pacemaker, so that necessary precautions can be taken for electrocautery devices used in the O.R.

I work in surgery, and nearly all pacemakers are done under local anesthesia. It's not uncommon for the patient to not remember the procedure, because many of the sedation medications cause amnesia. Many pacemakers can be checked and reprogrammed over the phone. Your grandfather's doctor will send reminders for when this needs to be done. Once his initial incision is healed, there's really nothing more he needs to do.

Hope this helps!
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Pookie - Well that's the thing, he can't really go under general for an op because he is not as strong as he used to be, and the usual risk surgery carries with people is extended due to his condition.

So i don't think he'd even be having any other surgery and worrying about telling the docs of his pacemaker.

I didn't realise a local could cause amnesia, but he already has a bad memory, i suppose though it's better for him to not remember it anyway.

Thank you all for your replies, i'll take them all the mind.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragoriana View Post
I didn't realise a local could cause amnesia, but he already has a bad memory, i suppose though it's better for him to not remember it anyway.

Actually, it isn't the local itself which causes the amnesia. Local is just the medication that numbs the skin, like when a dentist numbs you for a filling. The sedation is the medication that helps people relax and feel sleepy. That medication is what actually causes the amnesia.

I hope that your grandfather is feeling better now that he's had the pacemaker inserted.
post #12 of 13
My nan has a pacemaker which was done under a local, and a friend in her late 20's has one of the defribillator type pacemakers which was done under a local. And as was said, they get given sedation so they don't stress over it while it's being done, and don't remember much of it.

Pacemakers these days are pretty good, and he will be much better off with one. As far as I know, there is no "maintenance", but my nan did have to have her replaced because there was a problem with the wiring but this was under a local as well.
post #13 of 13
Oddly enough, the calmative medicine didn't seem to take for my father. He was fully awake when he had his first pacemaker implanted, and although he had railed against the whole idea of having one, within two minutes after they turned it on, he said, "I already feel better!"
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