Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or cardiac implantable devices are tiny electronic devices that constantly monitor your heart rhythm. They are primarily installed in patients who suffer from two life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms—ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. Both of these conditions cause accelerated heart beats and require urgent treatment.
ICDs are primarily used for people who have had a heart attack in the past and are at risk of another. A defibrillator for the heart differs from a pacemaker because it is a more permanent solution.
Before a Defibrillator Implantation
Your doctor will discuss your options, potential risks and benefits with you. He or she will them perform a complete medical examination and may require you to get additional tests, including X-rays and lab tests.
Also before the implantation, you must tell your doctor about any allergies, bleeding problems or if you are pregnant.
You will receive specific instructions on how to prepare for your surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications.
We encourage all our patients to stop smoking at least 6 to 8 weeks prior to surgery. Smoking greatly impacts the healing process.
During a Defibrillator Implantation
An ICD can be implanted in several different ways, including through breastbone or collarbone incisions, or during open heart surgery. Once installed, most patients feel more relaxed and more confident when returning to daily activities and exercises.
Your doctor will discuss with you the best method for installing your ICD.
After Defibrillator Implantation
You may be in the hospital for a few days after. You should be able to return to your normal activities quickly, but discuss your activity routines with your doctor for good measure. Your doctor will test your defibrillator after surgery to ensure it is working properly.
When a person does suffer a cardiac arrhythmia episode with an ICD, the ICD will correct his or her heart beat and return it to a normal rhythm. If a patient suffers a cardiac arrhythmia and the ICD corrects the heart’s rhythm, he or she could become dizzy, light-headed or could possibly pass out.
Find a cardiologist now, or call 678-312-5000 for a physician referral.