Cardiology

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) Combo Device Implant

Description

An ICD is a device implanted inside the body of the person whose heart is beating at an abnormal pace, which cause them to faint, experience sudden cardiac arrest or have other life threatening heart related issues. In some cases, medicines can help stable the heart rate and reduce the risk of fatality, but when medicines do not work, doctors use the method of ICD implant.

ICD is used to help patients take their heart rate back to normal who are suffering from ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and cardiac arrest. It is a first line treatment for such diseases after current devices detect the abnormal heart rhythm. ICD is made up of a pulse generator that includes electronic circuits and battery and several leads, which is passed through the skin above the waistline and the leads are inserted into the heart.

The benefit of having an ICD implant is as it is not an open heart surgery, it can be performed while you are asleep and can be done in a couple of hours. After the ICD are inserted, the leads observe your heart rate for abnormalities and detect fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. If found, the ICD then provides a shock to the heart, which restores the rhythm to usual pace.

Before the ICD implant is performed, the doctor will help you go through the process verbally. Make sure to point out any medications such as iodine, latex, anesthetic, etc. you are allergic to that may cause you discomfort during the process.

Complications

Similar to any other cardiac therapy, ICD implant also have some complications, but these are not as severe and can easily be controlled by following your physician’s advice and few medications.

The common complications are:

  • Insertion of leads can cause bleeding
  • It can also damage to the heart vessels
  • Infection is likely to occur
  • Damage of heart muscles
  • Pneumothorax is another issue where during the procedure, if air gets trapped between the lungs and chest wall, causing breathing interference, which may even result in collapsing of the lungs.
  • Pregnant patients can suffer from other health issues who may cause further discomfort. Hence, consulting a doctor is a must before the procedure.
  • Other complications vary from patient’s health condition, thus, advisable to have a thorough health checkup prior to the process.

Post operative care

After the procedure, all your vital signs will be monitored to point out any irregularities. You must inform the doctor, if you feel any chest pain or tightness. After you are discharged from the hospital, which usually takes a day, you can return to your daily routine in a few days. You may be advised to go easy on certain activities for a couple of days.

You will need to follow the diet instructed by the physician and any changes must be done after consulting with him.

Instructions will be given to you on how to keep the insertion site clean.

Driving may be prohibited for you until the doctor gives you thumbs up.

You will also be instructed what you need to do if the ICD delivers a shock and how to keep yourself calm.

Regular checkups with the physician will be needed and you also need to notify him if you receive any kind of pain or illness such as fever, vomiting, nausea, fainting, etc.