Posted by: FLATCH
Posted by: Mbcracken
Posted by: FLATCH
Gentlemen, take it from a guy with a pacemaker, don’t ignore the symptoms.
Ditto...sick s-node for me. My heart liked to take breaks. Would stop for up to 30 seconds then magically restart.
Highly recommended read...
I don’t like to make diagnosis on other folks, but my experience was very similar. My heart rate was slow to the point where I would pass out. And I was diagnosed with a condition known as bradycardia. One node in my heart does not play nice with the others gets out of rhythm. Your body’s natural reaction to that is to slow the heart until the out of rhythm node gets back online. Sometimes it would work with just a couple of off beats, more often than not it would result in me passing out. I’m very lucky that it never happened while I was driving. The very first time it happened I was descending a rather fast trail on bear Mountain when suddenly I felt a little weird then woke up in the ferns. It took a long time almost a whole year to figure out what it was. Every time I wore a halter monitor it would never happen . Finally after a very serious one the doctor made me wear one until it happened again. Sure enough when it happened again I wiped out at home pretty good. Ended up with a concussion and spent a week in the hospital and ended up with a pacemaker. When the information on the monitor was downloaded it turned out my heart had stopped for more than 40 seconds. Kind of a wake up call. Don’t ignore the symptoms.
Amazing how similar stories can be but end up with different results and treatment options. My story is a bit long but the end results for the electrical side of the heart...it can be controlled/influenced by both the brain and cardiac electrical systems.
+ 22 years ago now, I had very odd "fainting" episodes with slight twitches. Lasting maybe 30-45 seconds. But, they would only happen once every 1-3 years. At the time, I was diagnosed as having epilepsy. Halter device, multiple MRI's and EEGs over the years all gave no results. Maybe the epilepsy meds (dilation 10 years then Keppra for 10 years) "helped" because they act as sodium controls for neural transmitters in the brain but could have helped the cardiac system too. The best diagnostic tool for me was what is known as a cardiac loop recorder. 2.5 years ago, I had one installed over my heart just under the skin. It would track my cardiac rhythms and I could mark "events" or odd feelings. These devices are really great. Battery life is about 2 years, easy to install and great data capturing for your docs to review. I could also download those via a communication box I had at home. This device is what truly saved me and finally figured out my cardiac events. In August of 2017, I took the "calculated risk" and weened myself off the epilepsy meds. Xmas of 2017, I had a passing out and scared my family. Dec 27, 2017, I had the pacemaker put in. The settings for me are to catch my heart in what is called rate response. So, If I am lounging and my heart drops suddenly from 55bpm to 20bpm...the pacemaker(PM) will take over and bump me backup to 50bpm. Same goes for if I am doing a hard MTB climb...say my heart is at 160bpm and suddenly wants to drop/stop...pacemaker will take over and bump me up to a 150bpm then slowly bring me down as I recover.
I have backed off on riding less tech/gnar but have gotten back into XC racing. I get a bit nervous about super big crashes with having a pacemaker and a couple leads going into my heart. It is quite secure and all now but I still have a big huge voice screaming don't crash and mess-up my pacemaker.
No docs can say why my heart likes to take a break. I have one neurologist that is still convinced it is in my head. My cardiologist admits it could be either and/or both heart & head. The only way to really verify either one is via an autopsy.
So, as Flatch suggests...don't ignore symptoms and I would add to also get multiple opinions. Remember, they call it "practicing" medicine for a reason.