Defibrillator After Angioplasty?

posted by Richard V. Burroughs, Northport, Alabama, USA
Will the Pacemaker increase the volume of blood that my heart is pumping out? Also, what are the negative aspects of having a Pacemaker/Defibrillator implant, mental and physical? Will the implant shorten the life of my heart? In other words, will the device make life better, but shorten it? (
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Current Postings (5):

• Richard- I had a heart attack in 2003 (age 45) and had a pacemaker/defibrillator installed in 2005. Two very detailed tests were performed by my cardiologist and an electrical specialist before the decision was made to put it in. I didn't like the idea but the alternative was not at all a good. I didn't like the thought of it at first. As time has gone on I don't think about it or notice that it's there. Eventually I will have to go back in for batteries and/or replacement. If all goes well I will have to do that several mores times. I hope your doctors are as good as mine have been.
Frank S., Georgia, USA, November 8, 2006

• Hi Richard - An ICD will not necessarily increase the volume of blood your heart is pumping. That's not what it's designed for. Implantation is recommended for people who have an ejection fraction of 30% or less. Because the heart is not moving blood properly there is greater risk of the heart itself, further malfunctioning. So yes, it is a safety net. For myself, it was not the right choice as a matter of fact it wasn't a choice at all. For many people it is the right choice though. Be aware there are some end of life ethical questions you will need to address as to whether or not you want it shut off when end of life is imminent. Good luck
M.J., Washington, USA, August 28, 2006

• For your heart with an ejection fraction of 20%, assuming it has been like that for 6 months, you definitely need a defibrillator. A defibrillator does have a built-in pacemaker capability. As far as increasing the strength, in certain heart patients with a widened QRS duration, you may benefit from a biventricular device (pacing both bottom chambers). This concept is called Resynchronization therapy, and the device is called a Biventricular ICD. The benefit you may get is from resynchronizing your heart contraction. The defibrillator part of the device is to shock you in case you go into a potentially lethal heart rhythm. With a weakened heart, you are at increased risk for sudden cardiac death due to an abnormal heart rhythm such as ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia leading to fibrillation. It is strongly recommended that you listen to your cardiologist.
Acutestemi, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, July 26, 2006

• Richard -- angioplasty and stents are used to open up blocked coronary arteries and restore blood flow, which carries oxygen to the heart. If, as you have been diagnosed, the rhythms of the heart are not in sync, a different type of therapy and/or device is called into play. That would be the defibrillator, or ICD, that has been recommended. Tens of thousands of patients have these. Vice-President Cheney has one. There also have been many recent stories about recalls and problems discovered with certain models -- and any device carries a risk, even if small. The decision to have a device implanted is an important one for the patient and we urge each patient to discuss these options and concerns with their cardiologist. If you are not convinced, a second opinion can be useful for your peace-of-mind and your informed decision-making.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, July 12, 2006

• I had a heart attack 10 years ago and have not had another one. After the heart attack, I underwent an Arteriogram with Angioplasty to clear the blockage. Since then, I have had 7 more Arteriograms. 5 of these discovered blockages and were opened via the Angioplasty procedure and a Stent was inserted. My Internal Medicine doctor tells me that my heart is currently pumping 20% of the volume of blood out with each beat compared to a healthy heart that would pump 60% of the blood column with each beat. My lower chambers don't currently beat at the same time due to the original heart attack. My Cardiologist tells me I need a Pacemaker/Defibrillator implant. I am told that the Defibrillator will be my safety net in case of a heart. The question that I can't seem to get a straight answer on is this. Will the Pacemaker increase the volume of blood that my heart is pumping out? Also, what are the negative aspects of having a Pacemaker/Defibrillator implant, mental and physical? Will the implant shorten the life of my heart? In other words, will the device make life better, but shorten it? I need a quick answer!!!
Richard V. Burroughs, Northport, Alabama, USA, July 11, 2006

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