Pacemakers and surgery


Q: My mom is 84 she has had a pace maker since 2009, recently they wanted add a defibrilator so she had that surgery done. They also wanted to add third wire that would go to the other side of her heart to (from my understanding) help the sides of her heart beat in sync. The Dr was able to add the defirbrilator but not the additional wire. So now he's suggesting they go through her chest which means going through the ribs. He wants to make her heart stronger (his words) she is just a year from a fractured hip and had several complications from that. She's not experiencing any shortness of breath and leads a reasonably active life style for 84, church, shopping, walking the dog and gardening but is tired by 8pm. She's up at 6am. I'm wondering what the recovery time is as well as she's really just getting back to her old self from the fracture and I would hate to see her struggle to regain function if she's not up and about from the surgery soon enough. So Isn't this much like open heart surgery? and what would be the recovery process for an 84 year old woman who is still gaining strength from a hip fracture? many thanks


A:   Thanks for consulting ATD. Third lead as advised by your doctor, helps in effective heart beat and thus helps in improving cardiac output. It may require to open chest to implant this. Recovery may be bit prolonged considering her advanced age. But minimal access techniques can reduce hospital stay. Discuss with Cardiothorasic surgeon and physician who is going to operate about this.

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