How do you recover from implantable cardioverter defibrillator surgery?


Quick Answer

As part of the recovery from an implantable cardioverter defibrillator surgery, or ICD, patients typically spend the night in the hospital, states Cleveland Clinic. Their heart rhythm is monitored, and a chest X-ray is performed. The ICD is also checked to ensure appropriate settings and proper function.

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Full Answer

Patients are not permitted to drive home following an ICD implant, according to Cleveland Clinic. Because overall driving restrictions vary greatly, it's best for patients to discuss this issue with their doctor. Exercise, work and sexual activity may be resumed within a few days or at the physician's discretion, explains Mayo Clinic. For at least four weeks following the ICD implant, patients are typically instructed to avoid lifting items over 5 pounds, playing contact sports, performing vigorous arm activities or exercises, and engaging in strenuous exercise programs.

It's normal for patients to experience pain, swelling or tenderness at the incision site for a few days after the surgery, according to Mayo Clinic. Pain may be treated with prescription pain medication or over-the-counter pain relievers that do not contain aspirin, depending on the doctor's preference. Patients should notify their doctor if they notice increasing pain, redness, swelling, bleeding or drainage from the incision, states Johns Hopkins Medicine. Fever, chills, chest discomfort, palpitations and dizziness also warrant a call to the doctor.

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