My mother had one and then 12 years later had it replaced with a new one. My husband's uncle has one. The operation is not bad at all. I am sure you are imagining a lot worse, just like when anyone has a procedure done. Once you have it, you will get used to it and not even know it's there. Think of it as a safety net. If your heart stops, the defibrillator is there to help it start up again. Most of the time, you will not even feel it working. I do not know of anyone that has had cancer and had a defibrillator. The radiation from routine heart testing would increase the risk of cancer. Everyone that I know was able to live a normal life or better than before. I know people who want a defibrillator, but cannot get one because their heart is not bad enough yet. If your doctor is recommending the defribillator for you, then you most likely need it. It is not easy to get one and you have to meet a certain criteria for insurance to pay for it. My husband's uncle was 80 when he got his. His heart beat was extremely low. My mom's was a medtronic and she had good luck with it.
I have an ICD and the easiest part of having one is the implantation and recovery. There is some pain for a few days right after the implant and some discomfort for another 3-4 weeks. Usually the arm on the side of your implant will have to be kept lower than shoulder height to prevent the leads from dislodging for about 6-8 weeks. After that it goes back to life as normal.
The hardest part of having an ICD is the emotional impact of knowing that you could be shocked at any moment. While shocks aren't the world's worst pain because it is only momentary, they come on suddenly, are uncomfortable and painful, and worst of all cause anxiety. The tolerance of the shocks varies among people but most people tolerate them well. A positive attitude really helps with this.
The best thing you could do is talk to people who have ICDs and hear their personal stories. At the end of the day, most will tell you that they are thankful for their ICDs and enjoy their lives as much as they did before. I know that I am much happier now!
Today's ICDs are better than years past. There have been some recalls of ICDs and leads in the last few years but overall they are dependable. ICDs also have the capability of pacing you out of VT making a shock not necessary. This helps reduce shocks by over 75%.
I've never seen anything about cancer and ICDs. You could ask your doctor about that. I wouldn't let that get in the way of your decision though.
Hi this month makes 18 years since my first implant. I have just been notified by my doctors that it is time for my 5 th device. Having the implant is not all that bad, My implant is a little different from everyone else. My device is in my abdomen and my leads are attached to the outside of my heart.
It took a few months for me to recover, I do not have any pain or discomfort unless I hit my ICD on something. My biggest problems have been in Airports and courthouses, Security still wants to wand me and I do not permit it. Shocks are not any fun but they only last a split second. I tell myself a shock is a lot better than being dead, Life was a little more scary before the implant. All I could hope for was a quick response by medics or someone up on there CPR skills.
Good luck if I can help with anything please feel free to email.
I just got a Boston Scientific Telgien E110 implanted on 8/28/2009. Its so small it's barely noticeable and has some great features like the Quick Convert that helps to avoid painful shocks for VTs below 250 beats per minute.
I've noticed it pacing when my HR tries to go into vtach. I get twinges or pinches, but that's alot better than dealing with the 50,000+ pvc's I was having daily, or the uncertainity of having my heart stop again.
I'm a member of a pm/icd support group and it seems everyone's experiences are different than the other.
Did you ever decide to get a PM or icd? I'm really interested in knowing how others are doing with them and sharing what's going on can be really helpful.
I've had three put in since 2001. Had cardiac arrest shock six by the fire department love them. My first one shock three different times because it didn't monitor the top and bottom of the heart. Replace that one and it had a recall becuse of the battery might failed. Was decided to not replace it they gave me a large magnet to test the battery. Replaced the thrid time because the battery was closed to dying which they do around seven years. I'm lucky to be alive so I never think much about it.
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