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Is it worth a try?
Quick history: Post ablation in 2012, then a NSR heart rate of 125 for four months that the EP failed to treat, then a major A-Fib event resulting in pacemaker placement. Couple months later, a cardiomyopathy developed (due to the untreated earlier Tachy condition.) Time passed & my LVEF settled in at 20-25%. The past year or so, been lazy and tired most days. Current EP has stated the third lead of my pacemaker is "dead." He tried a right side insert last March but failed due to to the twists and turns of the veins of my heart. Suggestion was then made to have a surgeon perform a epicardio lead placement to get the synchronization benefit of my pacemaker back into play. Couple days ago, my echo report stated 13% LVEF, LV extremely dilated. Considering the COVID risk, would an attempt of implanting the epicardio lead be worth it? Anyone here have had a like procedure? Altho tired daily, I'm able to put in 10 - 20 miles daily on the recumbent excercise bike wife and I picked up 3 months ago.
JamesPL, June 11, 2020 8:33am EST
So sorry to hear about your struggles. I can't really comment on the procedure as I have no experience with it but I wanted to commend you on what you are able to do physically. It's remarkable! As difficult as it is to remain as positive as you can, working out is always a good conduit to your mental well being. Has your doctor talked to you about the potential COVID risk? It seems like they would be able to isolate you pretty well especially since we know so much more about it now than we did a few months ago. We are also entering a phase of the virus becoming less potent as I have read.
Let us know what you decide. Wish you the best!
hammerdown, June 11, 2020 11:40am EST
Hi, Jim! I haven't yet had the discussion of how, when the epicardio lead attempt may happen. My "plumber" cardiologist hints that the success record of this procedure is quite high - usually resulting in an increase of up to 30% of the LVEF - (I take that as a 30% increase of my 13% LVEF number). When I was in the hospital on March 10, for the EP's try at implanting a new lead via the right side method, even the staff there was poo-pooing the effects of the newly recognized COVID 19 issue...............My, how things have changed!
I'm waiting to hear from the surgeon who will perform the epicardio lead implant and what method he will use, and his success rate, and the current state of COVID-19 at the hospital he works at. This procedure usually requires a 2-day hospital stay. Currently, my daily routine of recumbent exercise bike use is at 18 miles/day. After a week or so of this level, I feel better today than I have in quite awhile!! Sleep better also! Thanks!!
AHAASAKatie, June 12, 2020 8:52am EST
Good morning, I am so sorry you are having to manage this during COVID19. Because admits to hospitals for heart, stroke and other issues are down because of pandemic fears, the AHA launched a campaign to cover this very topic earlier this week- Don't Die of Doubt. I can share one of the articles to help ease your concerns. 5 reasons hospitals are safe for heart, stroke emergencies — even in the pandemic
And seriously, 18 miles on the recumbent exercise bike is amazing! Also, on another note, the AHA is looking for patients willing to talk with our PR team about their health needs & fears during COVID19. If you would be willing to talk to us, please email me at SupportNetwork@heart.org. Thanks, Katie
hammerdown, June 12, 2020 5:24pm EST
Hi Katie! Yes, I'd be willing talk to your group. I'll send you an email later today. Just got back from the newly reopened fitness center. After 4 miles on the recumbent at home , I put in a 2 mile walk on a treadmill, then 1/2 hour on a NewStep machine. Now I have new muscle aches! I'll be back on the recumbent shortly.
amoeba, June 12, 2020 7:40pm EST
Muscle aches are a good sign!
AHAASAKatie, June 15, 2020 8:06am EST
Good morning! Thank you so much for being willing to help us! Please do not forget to shoot us an email at SupportNetwork@heart.org.
hammerdown, June 16, 2020 10:14pm EST
BTW: I've made plans for a surgeon to install an epicardial lead into my left ventricle muscle wall on Jun 23 in an effort to synchronize my hearts ventricles. Wish me luck!!
AHAASAKatie, June 17, 2020 8:34am EST
HI, thanks for sending me your email! I have forwarded it onto our PR team. Best Katie