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Abnormal Heart Rhythms and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD)

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Who Is a Candidate for an ICD?

ICDs are used for:

  • People who have had an episode of sudden cardiac arrest or ventricular fibrillation.
  • People who have had a heart attack and are at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
  • People who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and are at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
  • People who have dilated cardiomyopathy with severely reduced heart function and are at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
  • People who have had at least one episode of ventricular tachycardia, an abnormal heart rhythm.

 

How Should I Prepare for Getting an ICD Implanted?

Before you have your ICD implanted, ask your doctor what medications you are allowed to take. Your doctor may ask you to stop taking certain medications before the procedure. You will receive specific instructions.

If you have diabetes, ask your doctor how you should adjust your diabetes medications.

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the evening before the procedure. If you must take medications, drink only with a sip of water.

When you come to the hospital, wear comfortable clothes. You will change into a hospital gown for the procedure. Leave all jewelry and valuables at home.

 

What Happens During the Procedure?

When you have an ICD implanted, you will start by lying on a bed and the nurse will place an intravenous line (IV) into your arm or hand. This is so you may receive medications and fluids during the procedure.

You will be given an antibiotic to prevent infection and a medication through your IV to relax you and make you drowsy, but it may not put you to sleep.

The nurse will connect you to several monitors. The monitors allow the doctor and nurse to check your heart rhythm, blood pressure, oxygen level of your blood, and other measurements during the procedure.

The left or right side of your chest, from your neck to your groin will be shaved and cleansed with a special soap. Sterile drapes are used to cover you from your neck to your feet. A soft strap will be placed across your waist and arms to prevent your hands from coming in to contact with the sterile field.

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