The procedure to implant an ICD is minimally invasive, and most people go home within 24 hours. Before the surgery, medication may be given to make you sleepy and comfortable. Generally, the procedure is performed under local anesthesia.
After your procedure, you will be given an ICD identification card. Always carry it with you as it contains important information about the implanted device.
Allow yourself a few weeks to get used to your ICD.
It is important to keep your wound dry for the first few days while it heals. Also avoid wearing tight clothing that could irritate your wound. You should not move the affected shoulder too energetically during the first few days so as not to impair the healing process. Avoid lifting heavy objects. Do not make sweeping movements with your arms, as these can cause undesirable tension on the leads. Consult your doctor in case of specific question.
Your doctor will set follow-up appointments. During such follow-ups, you should not only mention the symptoms that may have occurred during action of the ICD, you should also take this opportunity to ask any questions you may have and talk about your concerns and potential fears.
The follow-up appointments enable the defibrillator to be thoroughly checked. During these check-ups, your doctor may:
This is done through a programmer, a small computer kept at your doctor’s office. Your doctor will use the programmer to retrieve information stored in your ICD.
In addition to these appointments, you should call or visit your doctor in specific situations:
Some people are unconscious when their ICD delivers a shock, but others are not and may be aware of what’s happening. Different people perceive the shock from the ICD very differently. The shock can feel like a vigorous or even painful kick in the chest. The muscles in the chest and upper arm may contract so strongly that you jump up in fright. You should not worry about this, as it simply means that the ICD is doing its job. People generally regard this action as necessary and comforting. If you receive a shock, anyone touching you may feel the shock as a muscle spasm or a tingle, although it is unlikely. A shock can be startling, but it will not hurt a person touching you.
Shocks may be uncomfortable. It is normal to be concerned about getting a shock but be reassured this can save your life.
Discuss this with your doctor and he/she will provide a detailed plan of what to do should a shock occur.
An example of a shock plan could be:
Ask your doctor for their recommended shock plan as this may differ between doctors.
The ICD has been developed to let your doctor know when the battery power falls to a low level. As the battery is an inherent component of the pulse generator, the entire pulse generator device must be replaced during a replacement procedure. The surgeon makes an incision over the old scar and removes the old device. The electrodes are fastened securely and, after they have been checked, a new pulse generator device is connected, tested and inserted into the existing skin pocket. The leads only need to be changed in exceptional cases.
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.
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