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Questions and Answers – Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices

Heart Failure

If your doctor has advised you that cardiac resynchronization therapy may be the best course of treatment for your poorly pumping heart (heart failure), you may have a variety of questions and concerns.

Here are some common topics of interest to individuals considering an implantable cardiac resynchronization therapy device:

What should I expect during cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) surgery?

Typically, the procedure to implant a heart device is done under local anaesthesia. It does not require open-heart surgery and many people go home within 24 hours. Your doctor will provide more detailed information, but most individuals can expect to gradually return to their everyday activities shortly after the procedure.

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What happens when I receive a shock?

Experiencing a shock from a CRT device that contains an implantable defibrillator can be a concern for many individuals. An implantable defibrillator shock will most likely take you by surprise.

You may feel fine afterward, or you may feel dizzy, sick, or disoriented after the shock occurs. It's important to talk to your doctor and have a plan in place so that you know exactly what to do when you experience a shock. Your doctor may want you to call in, transmit information via your CareLinkTM monitor, or schedule an appointment after you’ve had a shock.

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Will the device affect my appearance?

Sometimes individuals wonder if there will be a noticeable bulge where the heart device was implanted. In general, you may notice a slight bump under your skin where your device is located.

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Will I have to change my lifestyle?

An implantable heart device allows many individuals to participate in the activities they enjoy. Your doctor will have more information on activities you may need to avoid.

If your CRT device contains an implantable defibrillator, this might include activities where a few seconds of unconsciousness could be dangerous to yourself or others. However, most people resume their normal daily activities after full recovery from surgery.

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Where can I find additional resources?

There are many resources available for individuals living with a heart failure. Talk to your doctor or health care professional if you have medical concerns or health symptoms. 

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.