There was an article that specifically examined this in a journal called PACE published recently (2007). In that study, that looked at the risks of generator replacement about 1.2% of the people had complications (total of 9 people with complications). Of those 9, 5 developed an infection, 3 had a hematoma (significant bruise/bleeding at the site) and 1 had incisional dehiscence (wound doesn't heal and splits open).
my mother inlaw is 85 and is going to have battery replacement in about 2 week or so. should we be worried, because of her age and she also has alzimers, begiining stages, and has made the comment that she hopes she doesnt come out of it. she has problems with her legs and is on blood thinner. no-diabetic or blood pressure problems.thanks
My Dad who is almost 80 (not much younger than your Mom-in-law) had his ICD changed to a pacemaker. The ICD battery was running down, he's in end stage heart failure and their options were to let it run out (he would probably die soon) or at least replace it with a pacer to keep him going till his heart gives out on its own. He's also on multiple meds.
The procedure was very quick and simple. They just opened the little pocket that was already there, pulled out the ICD, disconnected the wires, cleaned out the area and plugged in the pacer, a few stitches and he was good to go home. As far as I know, they don't open a pacer or ICD to replace batteries like we do with flashlights. It's a sealed unit. They just plug in a new gadget. Even with his blood thinners and all, he was fine.
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