Nurse who suffered allergic reaction to own pacemaker needs new one made of gold

A nurse left in agony by an allergic reaction to her pacemaker has been told she needs one made of gold – which may no longer be available.

Chandra Taylor has been in such pain since being given the life-saving device seven months ago that she had to give up her job as a stroke nurse.

Thousands of patients a year have pacemakers fitted to regulate their heartbeat through tiny electrical pulses.

But Chandra, 51, is one of only a handful who get such a horrific reaction.

She says she warned the hospital she was allergic to all metals except gold – but was reassured it would be fine.

But she became seriously ill days after being fitted with the £4,400 titanium device to alleviate sick sinus syndrome, a collection of heart rhythm disorders.

Gold versions cost up to £1,000 more, but are hard for hospitals to get hold of.

Chandra almost collapsed on a night shift at Norfolk and Norwich University Hos­­pital after her heart became irregular despite having the device – and within days she was screaming in pain and bed-bound at home.

Chandra said: “For days, it was constant pain. It was like I had a fever – I was disorientated, screaming at my friends.”

A week after the op her symptoms had become more severe, and the left side of her body began swelling up.

Chandra recalled: “I couldn’t move my neck to the left and my ankle became stiff and swollen.

“I was covered by a red rash on the side of my body. The pain was so extreme I wanted to kill myself.”

It took months for doctors to establish she was allergic to the device.

Chandra, of Rackheath, Norfolk, said: “I was so active, working full time and I’d jog six miles in the evening.

“Suddenly I couldn’t do any of it. It was like the clock stopped for me.”

She added: “Even if I wear a tiny pair of earrings I get a rash and my skin starts burning. Nobody believed I could be allergic to my pacemaker.”

Chandra begged her doctor for antihistamines. He agreed as nothing else had worked.

She said: “I took the first at 10am – by 6pm my swelling was down.”

Now Chandra is hoping a gold-plated pacemaker can be found. Otherwise she will be given a plastic-coated device.

She said: “Most companies don’t make gold ones now as there’s little demand.”

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Trust said: “We’d like to apologise to Chandra for the complications.

“A procedure to implant a new parylene-coated pacemaker will be scheduled in the near future.”

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