Will it hurt if I receive therapy?
People perceive therapy differently. For some it’s painful, for others it’s mild, and a few don’t even notice it. Therapy will also be delivered in different strengths, so not all therapies will feel the same. Any discomfort associated with shock therapy lasts for only a short time.

What should I do if I receive therapy?
You should always follow your physicians' instructions about receiving therapy. Some physicians ask that you call if therapy is delivered. This is not uncommon, especially if your ICD is new. If therapy is delivered more than once, you should keep an activity log, containing such information as when therapy occurred, what you were doing prior to therapy, and any symptoms you experienced.

What does my family need to know about my ICD?
It is smart to work out an emergency plan for your family, friends, and even co-workers. Keep your doctors’ phone numbers and a list of your medications available at home and work. People around you should learn CPR if they are willing. If you should pass out, CPR should be administered as someone calls for emergency help.

How long does an ICD last?
ICDs can last anywhere from 2 years to 10 years or more — on the average about five years. Device longevity depends upon how hard the battery inside the ICD has to work. This is affected by whether or not you also need bradycardia pacing and what special features of your ICD are activated. It is also affected by therapy you receive and the amount of energy needed to bring about normal heart rhythm. Thanks to ongoing research and development, the life of ICDs continues to increase as their size decreases, making them more comfortable for patients.

What if I never get therapy?
Your ICD is sensitive enough to deliver therapy as it’s required; however, many people never need the therapy. It’s still nice to know it’s there.

Can ICD recipients live an active lifestyle of jogging, tennis, skiing, and such? What if I do something that is too strenuous for the ICD to handle?
Typically, ICD recipients can continue to lead active lives. If you did a certain activity before, more likely than not, you'll be able to continue that activity after ICD implantation. In fact, you should be able to participate in most activities. Because people may have more energy after the ICD is implanted, they may be able to do more than they have been able to do for some time. If there are special activities that you would like to participate in, this needs to be discussed with your physician prior to the procedure, as it may affect the device that is selected and how it is implanted.

Can people hear and feel the ICD "tick" inside of them?
After the ICD is implanted, the patient will probably be aware of it for a while. This is a normal feeling and will lessen with time. However, the ICD does not make sounds; no one will be able to hear it.

Do ICDs place any limitations on my sex life?
Other than a brief stay in the hospital, followed by a short recovery period, an ICD typically doesn't have any adverse effects on a person's sex life.

What if I’m touching someone when I receive therapy?
The person you are touching may feel a tingling sensation. It is not harmful to him or her.

Are there any diet restrictions?
For overall heart health, physicians recommend following a heart-healthy diet. This is a diet low in fat and sugar, and high in fiber.

Will a cellular phone interfere with my ICD?

You can use a cellular phone without any problems with most ICDs. Ask your doctor about using a cellular phone.pulse generators. Ask your doctor about using a cellular phone.

Can ICDs set off airport security and interfere with aviation navigation equipment?
ICD recipients can travel without restrictions. However, metal detectors and anti-theft systems used in airports, stores, and other locations create electromagnetic fields that can interfere with the ICD. Be sure to pass through the archway at a normal pace and avoid lingering in the immediate area. Passing through the metal detector at airports will not damage an ICD, but the metal in it may sound the alarm. If this happens, patients simply show security personnel their ICD identification card. If a search with a handheld wand is performed, ICD patients should stress to the security personnel that the search should be performed quickly and that they should avoid holding the wand directly over the ICD for a prolonged period of time.

What is an ICD identification card?
This card lets everyone know that you have a pulse generator. You will get a temporary card at your implant. Your permanent card will be sent to you by the ICD manufacturer. It contains information on the type of ICD you have and other important information. If you are ever in a medical emergency, this card will give emergency personnel critical data that could save your life. Keep it with you at all times.

What is EMI?
EMI means electromagnetic interference. Certain types of electrical or magnetic energy can interfere with your pulse generator's operation. You should do your best to avoid major sources of EMI.

What causes EMI?
EMI or electromagnetic interference can be caused by:

  • Electrical appliances in poor condition or not grounded correctly
  • Electrical equipment that produces a great deal of energy, like industrial generators
  • Certain devices, notably arc-welders
  • Medical equipment including MRI devices, therapeutic radiation, and TENS (pain-control devices)

What electrical equipment is safe to use?
Most home appliances in good working order are safe to use. This includes microwave ovens, blenders, toasters, electric knives, ultrasonic dental cleaners, televisions, VCRs, electric blankets, electric stoves and garage door openers.

Office equipment and most medical equipment is safe to use. The ICD will work properly during chest and dental x-rays, diagnostic ultrasound, CT scan, mammography and fluoroscopy.

What should I do if I am near a source of EMI?
In most cases you can just walk away from the EMI source or turn it off. If you feel symptoms such as lightheadedness or palpitations after being near an EMI source, contact your doctor.

What if I am going into a hospital or clinic?
Tell the hospital personnel that you have an ICD before you undergo any medical or dental procedure or test. Talk to your doctor if you have to undergo the following medical procedures:

  • Diathermy
  • Electrosurgery
  • Electrocautery
  • External defibrillation
  • Lithotripsy
  • Radiation therapy
  • MRI

Will an iPod® music player or other portable multi-media player interfere with my ICD?
There is no clear indication that compact multi-media players, such as iPod products or mp3 players, interfere with the normal function of an ICD.