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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What happens after the ICD is implanted?

You’ll require a short stay in the hospital. Before you leave, your doctor will test your ICD to make sure it’s working properly. Take all medication as prescribed and follow your physician’s instructions. You’ll receive an ICD patient ID card when you leave with important information: the date of your next follow-up appointment and a phone number for questions and problems. Always carry your ICD patient ID card with you and show it to medical personnel before having any medical treatment (including dental treatment).

What medical treatments should I be careful of?

Here is a list of medical equipment or procedures that you will need to discuss with your doctor beforehand:

  • Nuclear magnetic resonance
  • Ultrasonography and stimulation therapy
  • External defibrillation
  • Diathermy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Lithotripsy (For breaking up kidney stones)
  • Electrocauterization (For burning or sealing blood vessels)
  • Ablation (Destroying tissue that interrupts heart rhythms as part of CRT therapy)

When should I call my doctor?

Talk to your doctor if you notice any of the following

  • Blood or fluid comes out of the surgery scar
  • The surgery incision swells or becomes unusually warm
  • The pain gets worse after it had initially improved

 

If you feel any activity by your ICD, make sure to write the activity down, and include additional information such as the date and time and what you were doing at the time.

  • Call your doctor if you think you have received a shock.

What activities should I avoid after ICD surgery?

Here is a list of things to avoid while you are recovering:

  • Driving (for 6 months after implantation)
  • Hits and impacts to the implantation area
  • Wide arm movements
  • Carrying heavy loads
  • Wearing or carrying anything that could rub or press on the incision site (Tight-fitting clothing, purse, backpack, or luggage straps)

Which activities are okay for me to do after ICD surgery?

After you have recovered from your implantation procedure, you can return to the following activities when cleared by your doctor:

  • Bathing or Showering
  • Moderate exercise
  • Work
  • Driving (When cleared by your doctor to do so)
  • Gardening or yard work
  • Sports (Consult with your doctor before resuming any sport activity. Avoid contact sports)
  • Normal sexual activity
  • Swimming (Make sure there are lifeguards on duty who can render assistance if you need it.)
  • Traveling (Inform your doctor)

How often will I need to see the doctor?

You’ll need to see your doctor one month after your implant and every 3 months afterward.

Are there any places or devices I should avoid now that I have an ICD?

Yes. ICDs have excellent shielding from the effects of some electrical equipment but it is a good idea to exercise caution around the following:

  • Equipment or other sources that generate strong magnetic fields that can interfere with your device
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can negatively affect your device by damaging the device or its components, affecting the device’s function, triggering rapid pacing, or delivering inappropriate shocks. There are MR conditional implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD) that are approved for MRI scanning and that have received FDA clearance for use in the U.S. and CE approval in the EU.
  • Cell phones:
    • Keep the phone 6 inches (15 cm) away from your ICD at all times, even when it is off.
    • Hold the phone against your ear that is on the opposite side of your ICD
    • Don’t carry your phone in your breast pocket over the ICD
    • Avoid placing the phone or its antenna over the ICD
  • Metal Detectors
    • Avoid metal detectors: both handheld and walk through
    • Inform security personnel of your ICD
    • Show your patient ID card
  • Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)
    • Theft detection, anti-theft systems, Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS)
      • Many stores may use theft detection systems at entrances and exits and throughout the store to detect shoplifting. It’s possible that these might interfere with your ICD. If you feel a theft detection system is affecting your ICD, leave the area immediately.
  • Electric tools, power tools, welders, and electric melting furnaces
  • Radio/television and radar transmitters and satellite towers. Ham radios and CBs should be safe to use.
  • Power-generating facilities
  • High voltage transmission lines
  • Walkie-talkies and other handheld transceivers including emergency two-way radios used by security, maintenance, or emergency personnel
  • Pagers
  • Vehicle ignition systems: Make sure to stay 12 inches (30 cm) away from the ignition system under your car’s hood.
  • Electrical starting systems of gasoline-powered equipment if there is not a protective hood or shroud

Can I get an MRI if I have an ICD?

The large magnetic fields in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can negatively affect your device by damaging the device or its components, affecting the device’s function, triggering rapid pacing, or delivering inappropriate shocks. There are MR conditional implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD) that are approved for MRI scanning and that have received FDA clearance for use in the U.S. and CE approval in the EU. The American Heart Association, U.S. Food and Drug (FDA) guidelines, and some medical reimbursements support an MRI if the patient has an MR conditional device.

Choosing Your ICD

Not all ICDs are alike. Get our educational eguide, Choosing Your ICD, and learn what functions are key to choosing the best device for your lifestyle.

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