In the hospital
After the procedure, you may be taken to the recovery room for observation or you may go to your hospital room. A nurse will monitor your vital signs.
Tell your nurse right away if you feel any chest pain or tightness, trouble breathing, or any other pain at the incision site.
After a period of bed rest, you may get out of bed with help. The nurse will help you the first time you get up. The nurse will check your blood pressure while you are lying in bed, sitting, and standing. Move slowly when getting up from the bed so you won't have any dizziness from the period of bed rest. You will be able to eat or drink once you are completely awake. Your arm may be in a sling for a day or so. How long you will need to wear a sling will depend on your provider. Some people are asked to wear it at night while they sleep after the first couple of days but can take it off during the day.
The insertion site may be sore or painful. You may get pain medicine, if needed. After the procedure, you may have a chest X-rayto check the lung and make sure the systems are stable.
Your doctor will visit with you in your room while you are recovering. The doctor or healthcare team will give you specific instructions and answer any questions you may have.
If the procedure is done as an outpatient, you may be able to leave after you have completed the recovery process. But it is common to spend at least 1 night in the hospital after ICD implantation for observation.
Arrange to have someone drive you home from the hospital after your release.
You should be able to return to your daily routine within a few days. Your doctor will tell you if you need to take more time in returning to your normal activities. Don't lift or pull on anything for a few weeks. You may be told to limit movement of the arm on the side that the ICD was placed, based on your doctor's preferences.
You will most likely be able to resume your usual diet, unless your doctor tells you differently.
Keep the insertion site clean and dry. You will be given instructions about bathing and showering. Your doctor will give you specific instructions about driving. You will not be able to drive until your doctor says it's OK. These limitations will be explained to you, if they apply to you.
You will be given specific instructions about what to do the first time your ICD delivers a shock. For example, you may be told to dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room in the event of a shock from the ICD. Calming yourself with slow deep breaths can be helpful if you are anxious after a shock.
Ask your healthcare team when you will be able to return to work. The nature of your job, your overall health, and your progress will determine how soon you may return to work.
After implantation, your ICD will need regular evaluation (interrogation). This is done to assess its function and battery status. It is also to check for any significant events stored by the device. Your doctor will tell you when and how this is done. A home monitor may be provided to you that can communicate with your ICD wirelessly. Information about ICD function can then be related to your doctor over the internet.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any of the following:
Fever or chills
Increased pain, redness, swelling, or bleeding or other drainage from the insertion site
Chest pain or pressure, nausea or vomiting, profuse sweating, dizziness or fainting
If your device generator feels loose or like it is wiggling in the pocket under the skin
Your doctor may give you other instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.