An implantable cardioverter device, or ICD, is a small device that gets placed in the chest to regulate your heartbeat. If the lower chambers of the heart stop beating regularly, then the ICD implantation will prevent you from going into cardiac arrest. An ICD can also be used after an echocardiogram to slow down a fast heartbeat that prevents the body from getting enough blood supply. The ICD will constantly monitor the heartbeat for abnormalities. If there is a problem, then the ICD delivers an electric pulse to the heart to return the heartbeat back to normal.
If you have survived cardiac arrest or are living with a weakened heart, then you are a good candidate for ICD implantation. Several tests will have to be performed before getting the ICD implant. An electrocardiogram or echocardiogram will be performed to allow the medical professional to see how well your heart is functioning. You may also have to wear a heart monitor for one day. This monitor will record your heart activity throughout the entire day to see how often your heart beats abnormally.
You will not be able to eat or drink anything for at least eight hours prior to your ICD implantation procedure. Once the doctor is ready to begin, you will be given some type of numbing agent to ensure you feel no discomfort. Once you are comfortable, insulated wires will be inserted into your veins. One end of these wires will be secured to your heart while the other end is connected to a generator on the ICD. The entire device will be implanted under the skin directly below the collarbone.
Our team will test the ICD once it is secured in place. The device will also be programmed for your specific heart rhythm problem. The entire ICD implantation surgery may take about two hours. The ICD device will be tested one more time before you are allowed to go home.
Regular checkups may be performed every three to six months. The ICD battery and your heart will be checked during these visits. A minor outpatient procedure will need to be performed every seven years to replace the lithium battery in the ICD device.
In order for the ICD implant to work properly, you will have to make a few lifestyle changes. Cellphones, headphones and magnets need to be kept at least six inches away from your ICD to prevent a signal disruption. You will also have to stay at least two feet away from welding equipment, transformers and generators the rest of your life.
At Cardiology Consultants of Southwest Florida, an echocardiogram is an extremely useful test that we can use to help determine if ICD implantation is right for you. If something seems off with your heart, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our cardiologist at our office in Fort Myers to learn more about how ICD implantation can help with heart beat regulation. Contact us today to book your appointment.