HRM and pacemaker

General discussions about getting and staying fit that don't relate directly to your indoor rower
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Rodc88
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HRM and pacemaker

Post by Rodc88 » February 18th, 2021, 8:22 am

Hi,
I am a newbie rower with a pacemaker. Started rowing a couple of weeks and been searching for a HRM. I have now tried Garmin, Polar chest straps and Polar OH1. They all exhibit the same behaviour in that they seem to flat line around 95-97bpm and won't go higher even though I am puffing away. I am guessing that the HRMs are affected by the pacemaker signals. Has anyone have come across this issue? Any advice?
TIA.

foreverfreedom
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Re: HRM and pacemaker

Post by foreverfreedom » February 18th, 2021, 9:44 am

The HRM is reading what it hears. Pacemakers act pretty much in the same way as Beta Blockers; your heart rate is prevented from going above a certain maximum value; trying to do more than that makes you breathless because you simply cannot get enough oxygen to sustain the workload; there is no way around this unless the Pacemaker can be set to a higher maximum.

Nomath
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Re: HRM and pacemaker

Post by Nomath » February 18th, 2021, 10:09 am

I suspect that the HRMs do a good job and 95-97 bpm is your actual limit.
Chest strap sensors respond to your heart's electrical activity. It is conceivable that the signal they pick up is interfered by the pacemaker. However, the Polar OH1 is an optical sensor that measures the 'color' of your blood. Blood freshly saturated with oxygen has a different color from blood that has been depleted from oxygen in the muscles. The periodic fluctuations in color synchronize with your heart rate. So if the OH1 shows the same HR behaviour as the chest sensor, this is probably how your pacemaker is programmed.

Today CyclingNews had a good comparison of the two types of sensors
https://www.cyclingnews.com/features/wr ... r-for-you/

mict450
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Re: HRM and pacemaker

Post by mict450 » February 18th, 2021, 2:35 pm

Depends upon the type of pacemaker you have Rod. Is your's a fixed or demand? Fixed will have a hard limit which you cannot exceed. A demand will let your HR drift up to meet your physiological needs. Take your HR manually. Is there a disconnect between what you get vs your HRM?
Eric, YOB:1954
Shasta County, CA, small town USA

MiddleAgeCRISIS
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Re: HRM and pacemaker

Post by MiddleAgeCRISIS » February 18th, 2021, 4:44 pm

Rodc88 wrote:
February 18th, 2021, 8:22 am
Hi,
I am a newbie rower with a pacemaker. Started rowing a couple of weeks and been searching for a HRM. I have now tried Garmin, Polar chest straps and Polar OH1. They all exhibit the same behaviour in that they seem to flat line around 95-97bpm and won't go higher even though I am puffing away. I am guessing that the HRMs are affected by the pacemaker signals. Has anyone have come across this issue? Any advice?
TIA.
If you are limited to that heart rate range - its still beneficial. I dont have a heart rate monitor and i row at low 97 - 107 bpm and i've been able to lose weight, build endurance and my heart rate is a lot lower for the same intervals. Recommend you confirm your settings on the pacemaker so you dont create an unintended consequence.

Rodc88
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Re: HRM and pacemaker

Post by Rodc88 » February 20th, 2021, 3:27 pm

Thank you all for your wise words.

flatbread
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Re: HRM and pacemaker

Post by flatbread » February 24th, 2021, 5:59 am

1) know why you got your pacemaker. I have a dual-chamber Biotronik for bradycardia. Keeps it from going under 40 -- so training is no problem. If yours is for tachycardia, then as Mick says, you're going to have an upper limit set on your device.

2) know your device settings. for instance, I know mine is set to sleep at 40 (I used to dip under 30) and set for a daytime low of 60. I have a card in my wallet from Biotronik with my settings on it -- comes in handy if you're ever in the hospital or an emergency situation, and the responders need that info (presuming you have your wallet on you).

3) In five years of having my device (I got hit by a car while out training in Germany, my heart stopped for 10sec in the hospital, and the German doctors said the thing was going in as they could not release me put me back on a plane out of the country without one...so no second opinion in the States), I've never had an issue with a Garmin, Polar, or Wahoo monitor. There's no possible interference between bluetooth or ANT+ and a pacemaker. The HRM reads what your heart is doing. The PM controls the range.
54, 1m84, 74kg

RHR 40, MHR 167 bike, 157erg

10k 38:05, 5k 18:07, 2k 7:00

2020 power bests on bike: 405w 5min, 357w 20min, 350w 60min

GregW
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Re: HRM and pacemaker

Post by GregW » June 10th, 2021, 10:13 pm

I also got a dual-lead pacemaker under my left collar bone by Biotronik in Feb 2021. I think it is set for a range from 68 to 150. However, even when exercising and panting like crazy, it's often under 110. I'm also being treated for a-fib, because my heartrate can jump to 125 or so at random times. I think the panting is getting less. I've been jumping rope lately, not rowing, because my doctors are concerned that the constant shoulder movement from rowing could hurt the leads. Have your doctors said anything about rowing? Are they encouraging or discouraging? (I'm 49 yrs young currently.) I have a concept 2 now gathering dust in my apt. I'm still debating about whether to continue rowing or to get rid of it.

flatbread
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Re: HRM and pacemaker

Post by flatbread » June 11th, 2021, 7:29 am

GregW wrote:
June 10th, 2021, 10:13 pm
I also got a dual-lead pacemaker under my left collar bone by Biotronik in Feb 2021. I think it is set for a range from 68 to 150. However, even when exercising and panting like crazy, it's often under 110. I'm also being treated for a-fib, because my heartrate can jump to 125 or so at random times. I think the panting is getting less. I've been jumping rope lately, not rowing, because my doctors are concerned that the constant shoulder movement from rowing could hurt the leads. Have your doctors said anything about rowing? Are they encouraging or discouraging? (I'm 49 yrs young currently.) I have a concept 2 now gathering dust in my apt. I'm still debating about whether to continue rowing or to get rid of it.
I think this really depends on the judgment of the Doctor. Mine said that after a six months, the leads were set and I didn't need to worry. I've been lifting weights for almost five years since getting mine, and rowing over the last year or so, and no problems, and my Dr. is ok with it. Mine believes that the repeated motion is not as much of a risk for the leads as a heavy load -- like doing a 200lb+ dead lift or a heavy clean, neither of which I have done since getting mine.

If your Dr. says don't, then don't -- for all I know a lead may snap today. Or maybe it won't. Defer to your Doc so s/he/they can't call you stupid for not following their advice if you do break one.
54, 1m84, 74kg

RHR 40, MHR 167 bike, 157erg

10k 38:05, 5k 18:07, 2k 7:00

2020 power bests on bike: 405w 5min, 357w 20min, 350w 60min

GregW
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Re: HRM and pacemaker

Post by GregW » June 12th, 2021, 9:55 pm

I'm in Taiwan and the doctors here seem to be very cautious. I've been Googling this stuff for a few months now. I keep finding contradictory information, and even found a couple articles that admit that there has been very little solid research on the issue. Lately I've found a few rowers in Western countries who have had pacemakers for years and have had no problems and also have the full support of their doctors. It's frustrating. My current doctor is more like tacitly allowing me to do my activities, including rowing. She's like a mother who figures her child will misbehave no matter what she says. :P I think I'll try my rower again and see how I feel. I'll keep the workouts short (not like I'm in shape for anything but a short workout now anyway).

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