The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
Any allergies you may have
Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
Whether you need a ride to and from surgery
Tests that will need to be done before surgery
The doctor will give:
Local anesthesia—the area will be numb
Medicine to help you relax
After the ICD is in place, it will need to be tested.
will be used for this step.
You will be asleep.
Description of the Procedure
The area where the ICD is to be implanted will be cleaned. A small incision will be made below the collarbone.
A wire, called a lead, will be threaded through a vein in the upper chest to the heart. X-rays will be used to watch the lead move through the vein to the heart. The signals between the heart and the ICD will be carried on this lead.
A pocket is made in the incision area. The ICD will be implanted into the pocket.
Once in place, the ICD will be tested. This is to make sure it shocks the heart properly. Precautions will be taken to make sure this is a safe process. When the ICD is working properly and in the right place, the incision will be stitched up. A bandage will be placed over the site.
How Long Will It Take?
About 1 to 3 hours
Will It Hurt?
Some pain and stiffness around the area is common for a while.. Medicines and home care help.
Average Hospital Stay
1 to 3 days
At the Hospital
The day after the implant, you will have an ECG and blood tests. The ICD function may be checked again. You may be sedated.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection, such as:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incision covered
There are also steps you can take to lower your risk of infection, such as:
Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
Not letting others touch your incisions
It usually takes a week or so to recover.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
Redness, swelling, excess bleeding, or discharge from the incision
A shock from the device
Pain that you cannot control with the medicine
Lasting nausea or vomiting
Call for medical help right away for:
Lightheadedness— and there is no shock
Symptoms that do not go away after a shock
3 or more shocks in a row
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Heart Rhythm Society website. Available at: https://upbeat.org/common-treatments/implantable-cardioverter-defibrillator. Accessed August 30, 2021.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/device/implantable-cardioverter-defibrillator-icd-16. Accessed August 30, 2021.
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD). Stanford Health Care website. Available at: https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-treatments/i/icd.html. Accessed August 30, 2021.
Kamp NJ, Al-Khatib SM. The subcutaneous implantable cardioverter-defibrillator in review. Am Heart J. 2019;217:131-139.
Pacemakers. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/device/pacemakers. Accessed August 30, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Nicole Meregian, PA
Last Updated: 8/30/2021
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