Needed an upgrade of my pacemaker (Part 1)

(Revised/Updated on Aug 18, 2020)

Needed an upgrade of my pacemaker (Part 1)

After some recovery time, finally, some time to make this post.

As the title already said, Needed an upgrade of my pacemaker.
Why?

After the summer of 2018, it was time for a scheduled checkup.
My specialist wanted to do an ECHO because the last one was already from some time ago.
So the end of September 2018 was the time for it.
The ECHO itself went ok and quick.
But for the results, I had to wait two months.
Then I also would have the half-year checkup of the pacemaker and meet with my specialist.

But one week after the ECHO, my specialist already called me.
He informed me that they had seen something on the ECHO that was not good.
They called it “Heart Failure”
This means, that the heart is not working the way it should be.
It had a reduced heart function of the pump.
So instead of waiting for two months, he wanted to schedule an earlier appointment.

He explained, that this can happen to people who have a pacemaker.
But in my case, it went too quickly too soon.
My pump function was reduced to 15%
A normal heart has a pump function of 60%.
So that is a big difference.
The cause, that is what he wants to see if they can trace it back, by doing some tests and x-rays.

How or what are the things I noticed because of this heart failure?
Tired quick.
It feels like you have no condition, you feel like your not fit.
This is because the heart needs to work harder to get the needed blood and oxygen through the body.

My specialist also advised me to get in contact with a special group in the hospital.
They are called the heart failure group.
They can tell me what I could or could not do or what is best, for the time being.

That day, I already got an x-ray.
For the other tests, I had to make different appointments.
Luckily, for all, I could get them very quickly.

For one test, they will inject some radioactive stuff and you have to lay down under some kind of x-ray machine, that will make a scan of the heart.
I had to do this twice.
One time a scan of the heart after some exercise.
So they can see how the heart is under stress.
And one week later, a scan when the heart is in rest.

All the tests also were to see if maybe I have had a heart attack from which we did not know.
And after all the tests I would meet with the specialist again and see what we will do further.

After maybe one month, all the results were in and I had my appointment.
Luckily, there were no signs of any unknown heart attack.
What the reason was for this heart failure, was not known.
His advice was to do an upgrade of my current pacemaker.

My current pacemaker is only to pace the heart.
It has two leads/wires going to the heart and they are going to the right heart chamber.
With an upgrade, he means, that they will change the pacemaker for what they call a CRT-D
This is a pacemaker with an ICD function.

The ICD function makes sure that both heart chambers will be in sync.
If both chambers go out of sync, then the ICD will give a small shock, so both chambers will go in sync again.
Also if the heart suddenly stops, it will give a major shock to get the heart started again.
So the upgrade to the CRT-D is some kind of precaution. 
Just in case.

I was put on a list to change the pacemaker.
In the meantime, I had my appointment with the heart failure group.
They had given me several points of advice.

Use less salt.
Drink no more than 1.5 to 2L of liquids per day.
Every day I need to weigh my self and check if I would gain maybe 3 kilos within 2-3 days.
This would mean that I was retaining water and that would be bad for the heart because it had to work harder.
And also, every day, have a walk for around 15-20minutes.

The only thing I could do now is to wait for the appointment to change the pacemaker and keep following the advice that was given.

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