What can I expect immediately after the AICD is implanted?
You will return from the Electrophysiology Laboratory with pressure dressing over the site of the AICD implant. If you have any pain, please inform your nurse so you can be given enough painkillers.
You will stay overnight in the hospital and usually will be able to go home the day after the device is implanted.
What tests will be done after the procedure?
chest x-ray will be done after the device implant to check your lungs as well as the position of the device and lead(s).
The following day, an Electrophysiology Technician will confirm your AICD is working properly; this is done on the ward, from outside the body.
Do I need long term follow up?
You will need long term follow up. Initially you will be seen at four to six weeks intervals to check the AICD is functioning as intended. If there are no problems, the follow up interval may be lengthened to every three months or more.
Are there any special precautions I must take after an AICD is fitted? Do I need to modify my lifestyle in any way?
After the AICD is implanted, you will need to keep the implant site clean and dry while the overlying skin heals. On discharge from the ward, the nurses will arrange regular dressing changes.
For two to three weeks after implantation, you should also avoid raising your arm on the side of the implant above shoulder level to avoid dislodging the lead or device. After two to three weeks have elapsed, the lead and device should be secure so that this is no longer an issue and you can move your arm normally.
There are few restrictions from having an AICD. Most sports are permitted except contact sports such as rugby where vigorous impact could damage the AICD.
Swimming is permitted but we do advise common sense precautions such as not swimming in deep water alone.
Will I be able to drive myself home after the procedure?
No. For your safety, a responsible adult should drive you home. Ask your doctor when you could resume driving.
The AICD is battery-powered. How often does the battery need changing and how is it changed?
Most AICDs will last around three to six years or more. We will check on the battery status during your regular clinic follow ups. Changing the battery is similar to implanting a new device except the AICD leads (the wires which connect the device to the heart) do not need to be changed.
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 can 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.
Should I carry my identification card (ID) with me all the time?
Yes. Your ID card contains pertinent information about yourself, type of AICD and your physician.
This is made available quickly in the event of an emergency. If you lose your card, please ask for a replacement.
What should I do if I receive shock therapy?
You should always follow your doctor’s instructions about receiving therapy.
Go to A&E or call 995 if you do not feel well or if there are more than 2 shocks delivered in the same day.
Can I travel with an AICD?
You can travel with an AICD. However, you should discuss your travel plans with your physician as there may be other important medical considerations.
Is it a problem if I walk through airport, shopping or courtroom security metal detectors?
The amount of metal used in most AICDs is very small and not usually enough to set off the detector alarm. If it does, inform the security personnel that you have a AICD implanted, and show them your patient identification card.
Passing through the metal detector portal will not harm your device; however do not linger near it as the magnetic field may temporarily interrupt the normal function of the device.
My doctor has advised me to have a “scan”. Is this safe if I have a AICD implanted?
Ultrasound scans (including
echocardiograms), as well as X ray scans (including CT scans) do not affect the function of your AICD; you may proceed with these normally.
However, you should not have MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans. Such scans use very strong magnetic fields which can affect the function of the AICD.
What must I do when the ICD emits a warning tone?
Keep calm. It is only an indication that you should contact your doctor. If you hear a continuous tone at high frequency, the situation is not urgent; you should phone your doctor and arrange an earlier appointment. However, if you hear a double high and low frequency tone, you must inform your doctor and arrange to see him immediately.
During out-of-hours period, please do visit the A&E.