Will I have to stay in the hospital?
Yes. You will be admitted to the hospital and stay overnight after the procedure. You will probably be able to go home the day after your device was implanted, unless the epicardial approach was used during the procedure.
What should I expect during my recovery?
A special monitor, called a telemetry monitor, will continually monitor your heart rhythm. The telemetry monitor consists of a small box connected by wires to your chest with sticky electrode patches. The nurses can see information about your heart’s rhythm on several monitors in the nursing unit.
You will also have a holter monitor, which is a small recorder, attached to your chest with sticky electrode patches. The holter monitor records your heart rhythm for 12 hours to make sure the device is working properly.
What tests will be done after the procedure?
A chest X-ray will be done after the device implant procedure to check your lungs as well as the position of the device and lead(s). The monitor will be removed before you leave the hospital and your doctor will get the results. You will then go to the Device Clinic.
What happens at the Device Clinic?
You will sit in a reclining chair. Electrode patches will be placed on your chest and connected via wires to a computer. A nurse will place a small device called a programmer directly over the device. The programmer allows the nurse to change the device settings and to check the device and lead function. You may feel your heart beat faster or slower. Although this is normal, please tell the nurse what symptoms you are experiencing.T
he results of the device check are reported to your doctor, who then determines the appropriate settings for the device. The holter monitor results are also reviewed.
You’ll also review your home-going instructions, including incision care, activity guidelines, and follow-up schedule.
An echocardiogram may be performed as part of the Device Clinic evaluation or may be performed at your next follow-up appointment.
How will I feel?
You may feel discomfort at the device implant site during the first 48 hours after the procedure. The doctor will tell you what medications you can take for pain relief. Please tell your doctor or nurse if your symptoms are prolonged or severe.
What instructions will I receive before I leave the hospital?
Your doctor will discuss the results of the procedure and answer any questions you have. Be sure to ask the doctor if you should continue taking your previous medications.
You will receive specific instructions about how to care for yourself after the procedure, including medication guidelines, wound care, activity guidelines, device care, and maintenance and a follow-up schedule. Also refer to the handout, “ICD Discharge Instructions.”
You will receive a temporary ID card that tells you what type of device and leads you to have, the device manufacturer, the date of the device implant and the doctor’s name who implanted the device.
Within 3 months, you will receive a permanent ID card from the device company. It is important to carry this card at all times in case you need medical attention.
Will I be able to drive myself home after the procedure?
No. For your safety, a responsible adult must drive you home. We request that your ride be ready to take you home by 10:00 a.m. on the morning of your discharge day.
Ask your doctor when you can start driving again.
When should I follow-up?
A follow-up appointment to check your ICD will be scheduled within 6 weeks after the device implant procedure. The appointment will be scheduled automatically and you will receive an appointment notice in the mail.
The ICD check is performed at the Device Clinic and takes about 15 to 30 minutes. The programmer will be placed over the device to retrieve device settings, measure battery voltage and collect information from the device about any fast heart rhythms and/or therapies you received. The leads will also be tested.
This first follow-up appointment is critical because adjustments will be made that will prolong the life of your device. This appointment is for a device check with the electrophysiology nurse. If you need to see your doctor for follow-up care, you will need to schedule a separate appointment.
How long does the ICD last?
Your ICD can last 3 to 6 years. By keeping your follow-up appointments in the Device Clinic, your healthcare team can monitor the function of your device and anticipate when it needs to be changed.
Managing your Condition
ICD therapy is only one part of a comprehensive treatment program. It is also important for you to take your medications, make changes to your diet, live a healthy lifestyle, keep your follow-up appointments and be an active member of your treatment team.