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ICD General Information

Cardiac Patient Care Handbook

When you have an irregular heart rhythm, either ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, the treatment may be an ICD device (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator). This device is placed inside your body.

The ICD monitors your heart rhythm and treats a problem by giving you a shock to the heart or changing your heart rate. There are 2 parts to the ICD. There is a power source (battery) and a sensing system (wire).

Incision sites may be tender right after surgery, but soon all areas will feel normal again.

The sensation felt when a shock is received is different for all patients. Some people describe it as a blow to the chest. Others do not know the device has given them a shock.

If you are touching another person when the device fires, it will not cause them any harm. They may feel a slight shock, like static electricity.

Your doctor will let you know when you can return to work and drive.

You will receive a booklet on information about your type of ICD and an ID card.

If you go to an airport, let them know you have an ICD at the security check point. Avoid security wands. Carry your ID card with you at all times that states you have an ICD. Please attend the support group meetings for people with ICD’s. You will receive information about the meetings. It is a good way to talk about the device, ask questions, and keep current on new changes that may affect your device. Also, entrance into a cardiac rehab program can be beneficial to your recovery.

The Electrophysiologist and Cardiologist encourage entrance in our Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. There you learn how to live with this new device, understand your abilities and limitations, and have a professional staff available to help with all your questions and concerns.

You will receive a booklet from the manufacturer of your specific ICD device with information pertinent to your defibrillator. You will receive this at the time of implantation.
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