Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Warning: Self-Removal of a Pacemaker Can Be Deadly

A bizarre story from the Chicago Tribune today:
A 47-year-old man living in a group home in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood died Monday night after he tried to remove his heart pacemaker from his chest, officials said.

The man, who lived in the 4700 block of North Winthrop Avenue, was pronounced dead at 11:33 p.m. at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Chicago Fire Department paramedics were called after the man told a worker in the home that he was experiencing chest pains and asked them to call an ambulance.

The man returned to his room, where he remained until paramedics arrived, police said. When they did, he complained to them about chest pains and was taken to the ambulance where he fell unconscious, police said.

As paramedics were trying to revive him, they discovered a puncture wound on the upper left side of his chest, police said. At some point, police were called when it became apparent that the man had been stabbed, police said.

After the man was taken to the hospital, a doctor told police that the man had apparently tried to remove his pacemaker himself, police said. It was not known what the man used in that attempt.
Pacemakers and their leads become densely encapsulated with fibrous tissue within weeks of their implant. As such, their removal is not as easy as it may seem to the casual observer. I know this sounds obvious to most, but if you're having chest pains, please seek medical advice and do NOT attempt to remove your permanent pacemaker.


h/t: Ves Dimov, MD via Twitter.


Anonymous said...

How utterly bizarre. Can pacemakers be painful at times? Otherwise, why would someone try and remove their pacemaker?

Sad story.

Anonymous said...

No pacemakers are not painful.I have a vns stimulator.Apparently this man had other issues