Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator

Most often, defibrillators are implanted in a surgical procedure with an incision made in the upper part of the chest. The surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia. A patient who requires additional surgery such as a coronary bypass will have a cardiac defibrillator implanted during an open-heart procedure. In these cases, general anesthesia is used and the device is usually implanted on the left side of the abdomen.

The surgical procedure for implanting defibrillators includes the following steps:

  • The leads are inserted.
  • The leads are tested to ensure the best position on or in the heart.
  • The leads are connected to the defibrillator.
  • The automatic function of the device is tested.
  • The incision(s) is closed.
  • The defibrillator is programmed.

Recovery after Surgery

As recovery progresses, daily activities can be resumed gradually. The exact timing of the return to normal activity will depend on the nature of those activities, what kind of work is performed, etc. Discuss with your doctor or nurse when you will be able to:

  • Resume bathing and showering.
  • Return to work.
  • Resume hobbies and recreational activities.
  • Resume sexual activity.
  • Participate in sports.
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