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  1. #1
    Has new batteries! DuracellBunny's Avatar
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    Pacemakers - anybody managed to break their leads?

    I know a few of the guys in here have got pace's; have any of you ever fractured your leads?

    I have gotten my bench up to over 400lbs again, but I found out today that I might have fractured my ventricular lead in the process as the impedance has jumped through the roof.

    Fractures are pretty rare, but more common from weight training than anything else; have any of you done it or know anybody that has? I'm wondering if their docs found any leads better than others for this purpose.
    Screw nature; my body will do what I DAMN WELL tell it to do!

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  2. #2
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    I'm no expert on this, but I understand that it depends on the unit you have implanted and the leads that the Cardiologist picked. There are a large number of lead combinations but I'm not familiar with what is available (or why they are specifically used) other than skimming through some catalogs. You should definitely talk to your cardiologist in depth when you get it replaced or checked out.

    Most everything i have read says that moderate weight training is fine, probably 400 Pound benches would be classed as extreme.

    I'm sure you were cautioned to never let the bar hit your chest on any occasion, but just in case you were not. Don't let the bar hit your chest, ever..
    Often Lukamar your posts walk a fine line between sarcasm and humor, splashed with common sense and mastery of the obvious.

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  3. #3
    Has new batteries! DuracellBunny's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lukamar
    I'm no expert on this, but I understand that it depends on the unit you have implanted and the leads that the Cardiologist picked. There are a large number of lead combinations but I'm not familiar with what is available (or why they are specifically used) other than skimming through some catalogs. You should definitely talk to your cardiologist in depth when you get it replaced or checked out.

    Most everything i have read says that moderate weight training is fine, probably 400 Pound benches would be classed as extreme.

    I'm sure you were cautioned to never let the bar hit your chest on any occasion, but just in case you were not. Don't let the bar hit your chest, ever..
    Thanks for the response.

    The commonest cause for exercise fractures is actually crushing the wire between the clavicle and a rib apparently. I bench to just below the nipple, so there is no issue with impact, it's all down to internal pressure of the muscles against the clavicle and the ribs. I had a long chat with the cardiologist yesterday and it's going to mean surgery in the not too distant future one way or the other.

    There isn't much concrete data on the exercise implications full stop, so I thought I would see if anybody had had it happen.
    Screw nature; my body will do what I DAMN WELL tell it to do!

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  4. #4
    Utah...but I'm taller batteryrequired's Avatar
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    Yup....my secondary lead is fractured and will be replaced here soon. We are putting it off as long as possible due to the fact that I am up for a battery replacement anyways, within 9 months more likely. They tried shutting down the secondary thinking I wasn't getting anything out of it and to try and save battery life. I didn't get very far down the road and I had to turn back and tell them to turn it back on. Damn near fell over when I got out of the truck.....lol. I bench pretty heavy also...not quite up to the 400lbs your at (which is very impressive I might add!) but up to the 110lbs dumbbells at least and working on getting the 120's up. We are pretty sure mine fractured up near where it hooks up to the pacemaker itself. When it was just me and my two daughters when they were young....my kids loved to run from across the house and LEAP up on me as I sat on the sectional yelling "Bonzii" LOL The one time the heel of her hand hit me hard right on top of the pacemaker. Poor kid thought she had finished me off for good. The edge of the pacemaker dug into the muscle tissue pretty good and caused some major instant pain that I hadn't felt in a long time.....lol. How long have you had yours by the way? I got mine when I was 34. I had WPW Syndrome a form of SVT.
    I am with lukamar too...don't let the bar hit your chest! lol The only thing that is going to suck once I have that lead changed out is no raising my arm up over my head for 6 weeks. He said we will have a long discussion on what exercises I will be allowed to do also. nothing heavy I know as I don't want to wind up grunting and straining so hard that I pop that lead out of the heart before it has a chance to heal in. Good luck!
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  5. #5
    Has new batteries! DuracellBunny's Avatar
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    Battery, I am in a similar situation in that I will try and wait. I've had the pace 6 years (put in at 25) and the battery is just beginning to show signs. To get through the impedance they have had to up the voltage from 1.7 to 3.5 (!!!!) so I should wear through the battery a lot quicker. If I can wait and get it done at the same time as a new pace I will. My leads are probably going to get lasered off instead of just adding another one over the top.

    I'm completely the opposite way to you in that I am brady not tachy (I used to keep score of how low I could go and still be awake, my record after lying in resus for 3 days was 26 bpm and still awake hehe) with a very long P-R.

    Let me know how the surgery goes; us cyborgs should stick together

    Oh btw, you might get lucky and get away with less that 6 weeks on the leads. They have made big advances in the last few years regarding the steroids that coat the ends with and they graft on quicker now. It's never a good idea to rush back too quick, but there is hope
    Screw nature; my body will do what I DAMN WELL tell it to do!

    The only dangerous thing about an exercise is the person doing it.

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  6. #6
    Utah...but I'm taller batteryrequired's Avatar
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    LMAO on how low you can go! When ever I go in to the clinic to get it tested yearly, we like to do the same thing. Things get pretty grey don't they when it gets to low.....lol. I will have to ask about that as far as lasering the leads off and replacing them. The doc finally told me to quit coming in and wasting his time and just to come in when i am ready for a replacement....lol. They adjusted the pacemaker while I was all hooked up to a computer as I was running on the treadmill. After they shut the treadmill off, I turned around to find I'll bet 15 people watching. Doc said they have never seen anyone run at that speed on a treadmill before....lol. Keep doing what your doing, eventually its gonna motivate others if it hasn't already. Have you competed in any bodybuilding shows yet? You will really motivate some guys to get their butts in gear that are out in the seats when they see you up there. Something to think about.
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  7. #7
    Has new batteries! DuracellBunny's Avatar
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    I can't see me doing competitive bodybuilding. I am debating competive lifting again further down the line as that's how I started and I am more of a lifter than a builder by temperament.
    Screw nature; my body will do what I DAMN WELL tell it to do!

    The only dangerous thing about an exercise is the person doing it.

    They had the technology to rebuild me. They made me better, stronger, faster......
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  8. #8
    Utah...but I'm taller batteryrequired's Avatar
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    Either way....keep up the great work. You will motivate people either way and that is what is needed these days. Something to show others that have absolutely nothing healthwise to hold them back from taking good care of themselves. Hopefully we can recruit a few others like us with electronic parts to come in here and get going. Oh, I also have a hearing aid....this guy takes more batteries and has more gagets to operate than Buzz Lightyear....lol.
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  9. #9
    Has new batteries! DuracellBunny's Avatar
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    I thought you guys might find the update entertaining. I got a new pace and ventricular lead on Wednesday after having all sorts of recent problems, but the amount of muscle caused fun and games.

    The instruments that they use are not desogned for bodybuilders/lifters; they weren't actually long enough to reach past the muscle. What should have been 70-80 minutes of surgey turned in to over 3.5 hours and had them about to abandon it and try a whole new approach before they eventually got it to work.

    So for all those people who are maybe unsure about training with a pacemaker; it's perfectly safe, but put on too much size and it makes the surgery hell hehe.
    Screw nature; my body will do what I DAMN WELL tell it to do!

    The only dangerous thing about an exercise is the person doing it.

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  10. #10
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    It,s good to finally meet some people who have a pacemaker like I do. I got my Pacemaker put in last year and a septim because I was born with heart problems, Transposition of the great vessles. My cardiologist just told me to take it easy, so I had to stop smoking and drinking. I decided to join a gym with my brother and did it for a while but then I stopped because I was afraid. I talked again to my cardiologist after I got a blood clot and he told me dont lift the weights over my head or chest because it will dislodge the leads like bench presses etc. Iam trying to find a workout that works my upperbody by using a different techniqe. If anyone has suggestions I would appreciate it. thank you
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  11. #11
    Utah...but I'm taller batteryrequired's Avatar
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    Hey there JK...glad to hear things are going well for you. As far as lifting over your head...i was told as long as i lifted slow and controlled that it should not be a problem. You cannot dislodge teh lead out of the pacemaker...it is snapped into place good. It would take one hell of a blow to it in order to do that. Never bounce the bar off your chest on bench....if you want...use dumbbells for bench press. Overhead military presses...slow and controlled. What you are supposed to do anyways. Not like most gym monkeys who look like they are flapping thier wings with the dumbbells trying to take off....lol. Hang in there and please feel free to ask questions. I have had this quite a while now.
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  12. #12
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    Thanks for the tip. Iam new to this site and it has been really helpful so far. Sometimes after a workout Ill see stars in my periphals sometimes followed by a slight headache some people said it might be floaters that I was seeing but it ussually is large spots constricting my vision. I made sure that I ate and drank enough but I still get it sometimes. Have you ever had that problem? coul it be a lack of oxygen to the head? thanks BTR.
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  13. #13
    Utah...but I'm taller batteryrequired's Avatar
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    You said you just started working out correct? If so...give it some time. Your body just isn't used to the routine of things yet. Floaters in the eyes are just a sign of age...I have them and my friend who is an eye doc says not to worry about them. But take it easy at first and work your way into this lifestyle. Don't go to hardcore yet. The septim part I am not able to help you with or know much about it so please take that into consieration. Just keep in touch with your cardiologist with any problems that you experience. Also....check out the website www.cardiacathletes.com . This is a great resource for people that have had heart problems. Tell them Battery sent ya! In fact...a few of them might be able to help you out. Lars is the Admin there and he is a cardiologist over in England. He will be a great help to you.
    Good luck and see ya over there!
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  14. #14
    Has new batteries! DuracellBunny's Avatar
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    Hi Batts (you replied to me either here or on cardiacathletes and I didn't see it til much later - sorry)

    JK, I have researched this one quite a bit as I had arguments about it. I don't remember the authors of the studies as it has been quite a while since I looked, so please forgive me for paraphrasing a number of articles and conclusions from memory.

    Lifting above the head - this is more of an issue sooner after surgery. Lifting overhead puts the most mechanical tension on the leads (it can "tug" them) and if they are not securely attached to the heart it can pull them lose. General advice to be on the safe side is give it 8 weeks before lifting overhead.

    As far as physical impact goes, I would tend to avoid these lifts; front squats, cleans and log lifts. Front squats can rest the bar very near the site of the box and I personally know of incidences cleaning both a bar and a log where in the catch phase it has impacted and crushed the wire, not the box (they traced the incidences back to the exact time and what the person was doing).

    In regards to heavy lifting in general, this is where it gets interesting. There is a term "clavicular crush" used to describe damage to a lead from what they thought was pressure between the clavicle and the first rib; BUT more recent studies show this may not be the case (I gave print outs of the research to my cardiologists).

    A load of cadavers with pacemakers were disected and over 90% of the cadavers with lead fractures had one thing in common - the leads passed through the subclavicular musculotendinous complex (SCMC). The SCMC is a whole bunch of muscle fibers and tendons underneath the clavicle which tense and move during exertion. If the leads pass through this, they get all sorts or bending and shear stresses applied to them as different parts of the SCMC apply pressure in differing amounts at different times. This seems to create the problems as opposed to the clavicle and the first rib. The GOOD NEWS is that a surgeon can avoid the leads encoutering this problem to a large extent by making a more lateral percutaneous access to the subclavian vein.

    What does that mean in plain English? If the surgeon changes the point where they shove the wire through the wall of the vein to a different spot, it becomes FAR less likely to break. VERY few cardiologists know ANYTHING about serious exercise and will err on the side of caution due to lack of real knowledge, especially in a litigious society.

    I don't take lifting majorly seriously any more, but I still have a raw big 3 total in excess of 1500lbs so trust me when I say I have looked in to this quite a bit to assess my own risks.

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    Utah...but I'm taller batteryrequired's Avatar
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    Heya bud...glad to see ya. Thanks for posting that info. Helps us all out. Sounds like things are going great for you. Just getting back into it again finally after having to take some time off to take care of one of my kids. Things are looking up though. Glad to be back in the gym cranking some stress out! Hopefully you will see JK in the other forum looking for some info.
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    Originally Posted by DuracellBunny View Post
    ,...

    The instruments that they use are not desogned for bodybuilders/lifters; they weren't actually long enough to reach past the muscle. What should have been 70-80 minutes of surgey turned in to over 3.5 hours and had them about to abandon it and try a whole new approach before they eventually got it to work.

    So for all those people who are maybe unsure about training with a pacemaker; it's perfectly safe, but put on too much size and it makes the surgery hell hehe.
    Reps for screwing up the bell curve.
    I'm pretty sure the cardiologist was cursing you out.
    I'm pretty sure that you'd be classified as obese on the standard insurance tables too.
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    Utah...but I'm taller batteryrequired's Avatar
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    You know...its funny. They were wondering before my surgery to replace my pacemaker and a lead wire if there would be enough room to thread another wire in the artery. Guess its a problem guys our age. They shot some dye into the blood stream to check the heart out on the monitor and the doctor said. "Holy ****...you could drive a freakin truck thru there!" LMAO. Heavy training is good cardio for the heart gang! Cardiologist is convinced now...
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    Originally Posted by batteryrequired View Post
    You know...its funny. ...
    doctor said. "Holy ****...you could drive a freakin truck thru there!" LMAO. Heavy training is good cardio for the heart gang! Cardiologist is convinced now...
    Interesting. I heard something similar about a year ago, my opthamologist said the condition of the arteries on the back of your eyes were a good indicator of coronary heart disease. He took a look and with some surprise said they looked like sausages. (he said that was good)
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    Thanks you guys for the info, I deffinitly will check the website out. I will have to go back to cardiovascular surgery to open up a vein from a blood clot in a couple of months from now. They attempted it a month ago but my wires were in the way. They tried to put a balloon in my vein to open it up but it was unsuccessful. That was the worst surgery I had so far. I always do what I can at the gym by not trying to overdue it, keep at my own pace. The info that you guys gave me puts my mind at ease, I was stressing out for a while. thanks alot for all the help.
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    A quick introduction. My name is Steve 44 year old male and I just had (3 weeks ago) a pacemaker put in after an AV node ablation to run my ventricles. I have atrial fibrillation and ablating the AV node relieved me of all its side effects, but of course now I need a pacemaker to keep my ventricles pumping like they should.

    I want to start weight lifting again. I say again, but really my past attempts at it were short lived, i.e. lift for a couple of months and then quit. After the pacemaker I feel 100x better than I did. The side effects of the meds I was on and then the feeling of having my heart constantly flopping around in my chest are gone. I didn't realize how rotten I felt until now.

    Anyway, I'm going to find out more about the leads breaking while lifting heavy. Granted it will be a long time before I will be lifting heavy, but I would like to know what the doctor thinks. Also, I need to get some bone spurs fixed in my right shoulder that are rubbing on my rotator cuff. I understand that surgery can be quite the pita.

    I feel like I have a whole new lease on life with the pacemaker though and I'm damn glad I did it. It is a permanent situation. I will always need a pacemaker now, but that inconvience so far hasn't even come close to the benefits I have received.

    I just wanted to give a short intro of myself and I will pass any information I find concerning pacemakers and weight lifting along.

    Steve
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  21. #21
    Utah...but I'm taller batteryrequired's Avatar
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    Hey Steve. First off....welcome to the club! None of us really want it either but its a fact of life sometimes and I am glad you feel better now because of it. You still have about a month and a half yet to go before the doc lets you lift again I am sure. Just steady as she goes once you do. I am sure you will be amazed at how much better you will be able to lift now that your heart will work properly now. Keep the doctor informed too on how your feeling as you lift. I had to go back in and they had to make some adjustments to my heart rate...they had the pacemaker rate set way to low for me. Drop any kind of info you want in here...its how the rest of us learn as well as the technology changes so fast. Good luck and be patient with the recovery!
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    Batteryrequired,

    Thanks for the info. I see the doctor again on Thursday and they will be turning on the rate sensing capapbility and adjusting the upper and lower rates. I am going to hit the gym for the first time in years this weekend. Just doing some very light cardio to test it out. The doctor did mention it might take several visits before they get it all set up correctly.
    Thanks again.

    Steve
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