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Your New ICD Post Implant

Date issued: June 2016

Review: June 2018

Ref: C-202/cardiology/LZ/your new ICD post implant v2

PDF:  ICD [pdf] 161KB


Now you have your Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator otherwise known as an ICD.


  • The ICD is an implantable device that helps prevent, as well as treat, fast heart rhythms and slow heart rhythms that you will have previously experienced.


Going Home from Hospital

  • Keep the wound clean and dry for the first week after your ICD implant and until you have seen the cardiac physiologist at your 1 week follow-up appointment, which you will have been given. Do not immerse the wound area in a bath and protect from water splashes if using a shower. Do not apply talc to the skin area or pick at the wound or dressing.
  • The dressing will be removed at the one week follow-up appointment by the cardiac physiologist.
  • You should not operate machinery for at least 24 hours.
  • It is important that you do not do any strenuous activity for about 1 to 2 weeks, particularly activities that involve moving your affected shoulder.  No stretching, lifting or pushing with arm on implant side for 1 – 2 weeks.
  • If using a walking stick, use the other arm.
  • The wound site will feel tender and look bruised. This is normal and you may need to take a painkiller such as Paracetamol to help. Do not take Aspirin as a painkiller unless instructed by your Doctor, as it can increase the bruising.  The bruising may take up to three weeks to disappear.
  • If your wound becomes red, hot, increasingly tender and / or produces any discharge either soon after implant or in the future, please call the ICD clinic on 01752 431676 in the first instance.


ICD follow up

  • You will have been given an appointment to come to the ICD clinic for a one week check to have your device checked and dressing removed.  You will continue to have regular check-ups at the hospital.



  • The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has strict rules about driving if you have an ICD.

  • You must let the DVLA know that you have an ICD as well as your driving insurers.  Your Consultant will be able to advise you on the time period you must restrain from driving.


ICD identification card

  • You will be given a small device identification card, it is very important to keep this with you at all times, you might have to produce it at hospital visits and hospital admissions as well as airports.



Living with an ICD

  • There is a risk the electro-magnetic fields could interfere with the ICD so you should take the following precautions:
  • Do not carry or use a mobile phone or iPod within 6 inches (15 cm) of the device. It is best to hold a mobile phone or iPod on the opposite side to where the ICD was inserted.
  • You should avoid security systems at airports and standing for too long near shop entrances
  • You should not use a TENS machine.
  • You should not use or go near arc welders which are in use.
  • You do not need to take any precautions with everyday household appliances such as microwaves, oven or hi-fi equipment.
  • If you need to go to hospital to have a scan you should let a member of staff know that you have an ICD.
  •  You cannot have an MRI scan.


What should I do if the ICD gives me a Shock?

  • ICD shock treatment for an abnormally fast heart rhythm usually occurs following a blackout, so patients are not aware of the shock itself being delivered.  However, if the ICD does give a shock when you are awake, it can be alarming; it may feel like a punch or kick in the chest and can even be strong enough to make you fall over.
  • If you receive one shock and you feel well afterwards, call the cardiology ICD clinic as soon as possible on 01752 431676 for advice and to arrange a check-up, we are open between 9am and 5pm.


For out of hours please telephone the cardiac care ward at your nearest hospital for advice (for Plymouth patients, Bickleigh ward, tel: 01752 431751 / 439163).


  •  If you have more than one shock and/or feel very unwell after the shock, you must call 999 for an ambulance.


For any further advice or assistance please call the ICD clinic on 01752 431676.

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