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After Surgery – Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators

Tachycardia (Fast Heartbeat)

The surgery to implant an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is usually quick, and most people can return to their everyday activities after a reasonable recovery time.

However, each person's experience is different. Allow yourself some time to adjust, and discuss your recovery goals with your doctor or nurse.

Recovery

While you're healing from your heart device implant surgery, you may experience some discomfort. Everyone heals at a different rate.

There may also be some limits on moving your arm closest to the implant until the leads have appropriately secured themselves. Your doctor will provide more detailed information on what type of movements and lifting is allowed, as well as when you can get back to normal activities.

Device Tracking and Device Identification Cards

Individuals with a Medtronic implanted heart device receive an identification card to help track their device. Your card is designed to be carried with you so that pertinent information about you, your device, and your physician is available should you require medical care.

Check your identification card carefully. If your address and the physician listed are correct, nothing is required of you. However, if any information on the card is inaccurate, contact Medtronic as soon as possible.

Checkups and Monitoring

After your heart device has been implanted and you have recovered from the implant surgery, a schedule of post-implant device checkups, as prescribed by your doctor, will become a regular part of your life.

You will usually continue to see your heart doctor for overall treatment and management of your condition. He or she will monitor your heart medications and assess changes in any symptoms that you may be experiencing.

In addition, your doctor may decide to send you to a doctor who specializes in monitoring individuals with implanted heart devices. Because your implanted device contains a computer chip, your doctor or clinician is able to use a special computer called a programmer to check (or interrogate) your device.

Medtronic CareLink Network

Medtronic CareLink™ Network can provide convenience through remote monitoring of your Medtronic heart device. Ask your doctor if the Medtronic CareLink service is available and would be right for you.

Tips for Individuals With Heart Devices and Their Caregivers

Receiving a heart device can be a positive experience, but it can also cause stress. Below are some tips to help individuals with heart devices and caregivers cope with receiving an implanted heart device, courtesy of healthcare psychologist Wayne Sotile, Ph.D.

  • Talk about your feelings and experiences, but do not compare yourself to others
  • Learn about your medical condition and your device from resources such as your doctor, nurse, library, device manufacturer, and reputable websites
  • Keep your personal relationships alive. Emotional closeness is a universal aid in managing the stress of illness and recovery
  • Seek out social support from family, friends, coworkers, support groups, church groups, and health professionals
  • Incorporate sensible eating habits, exercise (as allowed by your doctor), and relaxation into your daily routine
  • Participate in educating others about your health condition or your medical device
  • If your heart condition is causing irritability, worry, or depression, ask your doctor or nurse how to get professional assistance

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.