INTRODUCTION: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is an incurable form of dementia associated with detriments to the daily life of patients and carers from their family. Symptoms of orthostatic hypotension, syncope, and falls are supportive of DLB diagnosis. These symptoms may also be present among people with sick sinus syndrome (SSS), and subsequent pacemaker treatment to manage bradyarrhythmia is associated with improved cognitive function. The prevalence of SSS seems to be higher among people with underlying Lewy body pathology compared to the general age-matched population (5.2% vs. 0.17%). To our knowledge, how people with DLB and their family carers may experience pacemaker treatment to manage bradyarrhythmia has not been previously reported. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore how people with DLB experience daily life following a pacemaker implant to manage associated symptoms of bradyarrhythmia.
METHODS: A qualitative case study design was used. Two men with DLB and their spouse carers were repeatedly interviewed as a dyad within 1 year following implant of a dual-chamber rate-adaptive (DDD-CLS) pacemaker to manage SSS in the men. Content analysis was used to assess the qualitative interview data collected.
RESULTS: Three categories emerged: (1) gaining control, (2) maintaining a social life, and (3) being influenced by concurrent diseases. Less syncope/falls and remote pacemaker monitoring increased a sense of control in everyday life, while perceived physical and/or cognitive improvements influenced social participation. The men were still affected by concurrent diseases, which continuously influenced each couple's daily life.
CONCLUSION: Identifying and managing concurrent bradyarrhythmia through a pacemaker implant could improve well-being for people with DLB.
Bibliographical note© 2023. The Author(s).
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