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Using pacemaker, has painful swelling on arm and ankles. Side effect?

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Gastroenterologist, Surgical
Practicing since : 1989
Answered : 883 Questions
My mum just had a pacemaker inserted on 23 April 2013 and was discharged the next day. She is currently experiencing pain and swelling in her left arm. There are also swelling in her ankles. Is this a cause for concern or a normal side effect from the surgery. Should we send her to the A&E now?
Posted Fri, 17 May 2013 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Ketan Vagholkar 1 hour later
Thanks for writing in.
Pain referred to the left arm could be a forerunner to cardiac insufficiency. If the procedure was performed through the same limb then it is possible for it to be pain full and swollen. If the procedure was not performed utilising left upper limb access then it merits evaluation.
Ankle edema of sudden onset is a cause for concern and requires evaluation.
A pacemaker requires close monitoring in the first few days. Therefore I would suggest that it would be safer to show your mother to the concerned specialist in the A & E.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Using pacemaker, has painful swelling on arm and ankles. Side effect? 38 minutes later
Thanks dr for the reply. The pacemaker is indeed on her left chest area. My mum's ankles has been swollen for a few months prior to the diagnosis of her atrial fibrillation condition. The swelling reduced significantly before and after surgery for the insertion of the pacemaker. Some swelling is present now. Is this s serious condition or can we wait for Monday to see a general practitioner?
Answered by Dr. Ketan Vagholkar 6 minutes later
thanks for the feedback.
If the swelling is present for a longer time without any aggravation or worsening recently then you need not worry. Watch for giddiness, palpitations, momentary loss of consciousness, breathlessness or discomfort in the chest region. If any of these symptoms are experienced then you may seek emergency medical advice for your mother, otherwise you can wait till monday.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Using pacemaker, has painful swelling on arm and ankles. Side effect? 1 hour later
Hi Dr, she has been having mild giddiness on and off since she was admitted into hospital for the surgery and also post-surgery. She also experienced some palpitations daily in the mornings after the surgery. But the palpitations are only for a short time and stops once she sits down to rest. Both symptoms are not new and were already present when she had her surgery. Is this a cause for concern?
Answered by Dr. Ketan Vagholkar 17 hours later
thanks for writing in.
The symptoms which you have described surely point towards some sort of pacemaker inadequacy. I would suggest that your mother should be evaluated by the concerned specialist. The pace maker needs to be adjusted as per the physical demands placed upon the heart by the body. Only then would these symptoms reduce in or disappear.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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