What is an ICD?
What does it do?

Therapy

How long will the battery last?
Is it difficult to change the device?
What will I have to do one I receive this device?
Why do I have to be checked every 3 months?
Will this change my life?


Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator Guidelines

  1. No MRI’s
  2. If you experience any lightheadedness, please sit down.
  3. If defibrillator delivers therapy one time, call the office.
  4. If therapy is delivered when the office is closed or it is the weekend, sit down and related for about ½ hour, then resume normal activity if you feel fine. Call the office the first thing on the next business day. You will need to come into the office to have your device checked to evaluate the cause of the therapy.
  5. If defibrillator delivers a second therapy shortly after the first one, call 911. Have your defibrillator checked in the Emergency Room.
  6. If anyone interrogates or adjusts your defibrillator due to surgical procedures or hospital admission, please call us at (586) 468-8500 to have your device interrogated in our office at your earliest convenience.
  7. Keep your regular appointments with your cardiologist. Defibrillator checks do not take the place of seeing your cardiologist.
  8. Please have your defibrillator checked every three months to assure proper lead and battery function. This may help to prevent the need for therapy from the device by watching for increasing arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythm). Call the office to set up an appointment at (586) 468-8500.
  9. For airport security – show the security personnel your defibrillator ID card and if they insist that you walk through, you may, just do not stop in the scanner.
  10. Do not use jack hammers, chain saws or ARC welders. Cell phones can be used on the opposite ear from the device.

What is an ICD?

A medical Device implanted into the body usually upper right or left chest. There are wires from the device to the heart to regulate the heart’s rhythm when necessary.

What does it do?

If the heart slows down to a rate lower than what your physician has prescribed for you the device will pace you at the prescribed heart rate. If the heart develops a potentially dangerous rhythm the device will deliver therapy to attempt to return your heart to a normal rhythm.

Over-ride Pacing – ATP Therapy

The device may be programmed to beat faster than the dangerous rhythm for a very short internal to try to “over-ride” the rhythm. Also called painless conversion.

Defibrillation

An electrical shock delivered to the heart to momentarily stop the hearts dangerous rhythm to allow a normal rhythm to resume.

What does therapy feel like?

After receiving ATP Therapy, most patients do not even realize they have had therapy. If a shock is delivered the sensation varies from mild to strong depending on the individual. Always remember that the therapy was given to stop a potentially dangerous rhythm.

How long will the battery last?

Most defibrillator companies have an average battery life of 3-5 years. Battery life is determined on the amount of therapy received by the patient and the amount of pacing demand on the device. Some devices have lasted longer than 5-7 years.

Is it difficult to change the device?

No, in most cases a generator change out is done as an outpatient procedure.

What will I have to do once I receive this device?

Routine follow-up appointments with your cardiologist are extremely important. Device checks at the office are performed every 3-4 months. A simple wand is placed over the device and information is transmitted to the programmer. The information is then interpreted and reported to the physician.

Why do I have to be checked every 3 months?

Battery and lead functions are monitored for performance. Changes in heart rhythm and elevated arrthymia (irregular rhythms) can be identified for early diagnosis and treatment by the patient’s physician.

Will this change my life?

Once the device site has healed, ICD patients are free to continue the same level of activity as they had prior to the pacemaker. With physician’s permission this would include: swimming, golf, running, work, hobbies, etc. Often times ICD patients feel more at peace knowing they have a lifesaving device in place and ready if and when the need presents.