Paddlers With Pacemakers

Recuperating from another heart attack with more stents and now a pacemaker. I’m an old R.N. with plenty of pacemaker experience…as a NURSE. I was wondering if any of you out there HAVE a pacemaker and how your paddling has been affected? How long before you were back on the water? Thanks in advance!

Well, your doctor really should be giving you this info, not a bunch of paddlers…

A friend has one. He isn’t a paddler, but is a cyclist. Seems like it didn’t slow him down at all or change his cycling after getting it. His was put in for having a heart rate that would come to almost a stop while he was sleeping. Freaked his wife out, but he slept right through it.

Terry, I have never had a pacemaker but I have implanted quite a few. I assume you do not have an ICD.

You should, of course, ask the surgeon or cardiologist who implanted the unit. Most are going to say no paddling for 6 weeks. Some will say 3 months or possibly even longer. It may depend in part on whether you have a dual chamber PCM with both atrial and ventricular leads, or a single chamber unit with only a ventricular lead.

You want to avoid activities that could conceivably interfere with the generator achieving good in-growth in the pocket, but more importantly, you want to avoid lead displacement (that would require another trip to the OR) until those leads are well-grown in. Atrial leads typically take more time to settle in than ventricular leads and are somewhat more prone to displacement. Again, your surgeon or cardiologist should know the particulars that apply in your case.

@Peter-CA said:
Well, your doctor really should be giving you this info, not a bunch of paddlers…>
A friend has one. He isn’t a paddler, but is a cyclist. Seems like it didn’t slow him down at all or change his cycling after getting it. His was put in for having a heart rate that would come to almost a stop while he was sleeping. Freaked his wife out, but he slept right through it.

The information I am looking for is supplemental to my physicians; I’d like to see if there are some paddlers, also? I’d like to know their experiences? Both my Cardiologist and the EP Cardiologist that inserted it are VERY knowledgeable, but, they are not paddlers. I know I will miss paddling for a couple months.

Pete, I never thought about the Atrial leads being more easily dislodged, but makes perfect sense. It IS a dual chamber pacer that also “Tracks” my atrial activity and paces ventricularly up to 120 BPM. Over and above, it assumes an “Overdrive” pacing mode. They elected not to do the ICD, my problem was a “Textbook” 2 degree 2:1. I do not tolerate a HR of 38-40 very well (LOL)! The thought of what could have happened with a cold-water swim at the Rendezvous, scares the crap out of me. I made the right decision a few weeks ago!

Thanks and I’ll be awaiting more info. I’ve found one paddler so far that e-mailed me. I may just take it easy and wait to celebrate my return to the water on my birthday in August?

I had a spinal Stimulator installed in January. I was told no paddling for 4 , 6, and 12 months by 3 medical types.
None are paddlers. The concern is apparently pulling the lead imbedded in the spine out.

I waited 5 months and paddled 2.5 miles this week with a couple of sprints thrown in.
No problems detected except I have lost a huge amount of strength and endurance.
B) It felt really good to be in a boat again.

@string said:
I had a spinal Stimulator installed in January. I was told no paddling for 4 , 6, and 12 months by 3 medical types.
None are paddlers. The concern is apparently pulling the lead imbedded in the spine out.

I waited 5 months and paddled 2.5 miles this week with a couple of sprints thrown in.
No problems detected except I have lost a huge amount of strength and endurance.
B) It felt really good to be in a boat again.

I bet it did feel good to get in the boat again? I’m hoping Cardiac Rehab will build me up a bit?

@wildernesswebb said:

@string said:
I had a spinal Stimulator installed in January. I was told no paddling for 4 , 6, and 12 months by 3 medical types.
None are paddlers. The concern is apparently pulling the lead imbedded in the spine out.

I waited 5 months and paddled 2.5 miles this week with a couple of sprints thrown in.
No problems detected except I have lost a huge amount of strength and endurance.
B) It felt really good to be in a boat again.

I bet it did feel good to get in the boat again? I’m hoping Cardiac Rehab will build me up a bit?

I hope so too. I think I could have done more to stay in shape.

Zero effects from having the pacemaker. This is my third one, at least the batteries last longer now.

@shiraz627 said:
Zero effects from having the pacemaker. This is my third one, at least the batteries last longer now.

Thanks! How long before you were out on the water after the initial implant? THANKS AGAIN!

I think 6 weeks.

@shiraz627 said:
I think 6 weeks.

That’s good news!

I’ve had three heart attacks but refuse to slow my paddling.
I am terrified that with age, I may need, someday, a pacemaker but will insist that it be IPX-7 or better.