Other than the cardiac catherization heart valve surgery, this latest surgery to “fix” the pacemaker complication was the least invasive and least painful of the all the other surgeries and procedures that have been done in connection with the initial pacemaker lead extraction fiasco.
As it turned out, the pacemaker complication mystery was easily solved. Dr. Blake, my cardiologist, had only to reopen the pacer pocket to immediately see what was causing this latest pacemaker problem.
It turns out that an AigisRX (time-released antibiotic pacemaker and defibrillator pouch) was the culprit.
The antibiotic pouch is used to prevent infection in newly placed pacemakers and defibrillators; it envelopes the pacer/defibrillator and the pouch opening is stitched closed to prevent slippage or migration.
Since my newest pacemaker was installed only five months ago, of course, I’ve been curious about what happened, in my case, to cause the pouch to be a problem to the point of needing surgery to remove it.
A large part of pouch (one size fits all) had curled-up, doubled over and migrated to just under the pacer leads and fittings, pushing them to the point of almost protruding through my paper-thin skin. They looked and felt like BB’s just under the skin.
Part of the pouch had also migrated to the corner of my armpit. It felt like meat gristle. Additionally, the part that still remained under the pacer was also pushing the pacer itself up toward my skin.
Any arm movement caused the leads to sting and pinch, and the whole area stayed sore and red.
Because of the constant surface friction, I was concerned that the leads would fray or fracture prematurely necessitating another risky lead extraction and heaven forbid another heart valve surgery.
I’m thrilled that the “fix” was so easy as Dr. Blake had originally thought that she would have to move the pacer to a sub pectoral location.
Interestingly, this is the third AigisRX device that has had to be removed at the New Mexico Heart Hospital here in Albuquerque.
Consequently, because these pouches have become so problematic, the research department at New Mexico Heart Institute is writing a report recommending that their use be discontinued here at the Heart Hospital.
The three-inch incision site is really not even that sore; and, like I said, I’m in much less pain than I’ve ever been post any surgery. This surgery, though necessary, really should have been no big deal.
However, since I’m extremely allergic to the tape adhesives used to affix bandages on incision sites, I’m now itching like no tomorrow all around the site.
And, I’m having to take yet another round of Prednisone to bring this particularly maddening allergic reaction under control.
As for the allergic reaction, I’m more than a little miffed because it was so totally unnecessary.
I specifically told my day-surgery nurse, and, in fact, everyone down in the operating room that I was highly allergic to tape adhesives and to Steri-Strips in particular.
They assured me that none would be used; they would use sutures and surgical super glue instead.
As anyone whose had surgery knows, when you first come out of surgery, you certainly don’t have all your wits about you whether you’ve been totally knocked out, or even if you’ve only had conscious sedation.
So, it wasn’t until we returned home from the hospital a few hours later that we discovered that four-inch-wide adhesive backed spandex bandages had been placed all over the right side of my chest, up my neck, and half way down my back.
As I’m also allergic to spandex, if they had stayed up all night thinking about it, they could not have picked a worse bandage combination for my allergy situation.
As soon as Lynn and I realized what had happened; we immediately removed all of the massive spandex bandages, cleaned the whole area with hospital issued adhesive remover, and washed the area with dial soap. Fortunately, this seemed to do the trick for these larger areas.
About that time, we were thinking that the cost of laser hair removal would have been a good investment. The only bandage that remained was a small pad covering the 3-inch long incision site, not spandex or gauze or tape, just a little benign-looking paper pad that had no tape affixing it.
However, unbeknowst to us, it too, had some type of adhesive backing on it. I’ve now had a violent reaction to the adhesive on this little innocent-looking covering.
I guess they think, “oh, she has a little allergy, but this bandage will only be on for a few days”. What do I have to do, write it across my forehead with a black magic marker; “I AM ALLERGIC TO ADHESIVES”?
Do I sound like I’m griping? I am, every single solitary time that I’ve had surgery I’ve had to battle this completely unnecessary adhesive allergy problem.
Well, in truth, I guess I am, when really I should be grateful that I don’t have Mesothelioma or some other form of cancer. I was reading on the Mesothelioma Information Site, trying to do some research for a friend of mine. At least, after you have a heart valve repaired and live through a few complications, you’re good to go.
While heart valve surgery is no picnic, you can look forward to an active and normal life afterwards.keep looking »