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Home Care After Implanted Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) Generator Change (7165)

Home Care After Implanted Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) Generator Change (7165) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Cardiology, Cardiovascular Surgery


Home Care after Implanted Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) Generator

This handout will help you learn how to care
for yourself after an ICD generator change
has been done. A nurse will go over this
with you before you go home.

Details about your ICD
Date your ICD generator was
by Dr.____________________________.

The company that made your ICD

Follow-up visits
You will need a clinic visit 2-4 weeks after
your ICD generator is changed. The site will
be checked to see how you are healing.

Your follow-up visit is scheduled:

Your ICD will be checked about every 3
months. In some cases, we may be able to
alternate clinic visits with remote checks
from your home. We will talk about this at
your first clinic visit.

Incision care
If DermaBond “Clear Glue” was applied to
your incision, you may shower the day after
your procedure.

If a dressing was applied over your incision:
ξ Leave the current bandage on until
ξ Site should be kept clean and dry (no
showering) for _____ days after the
ξ When you do shower, let the soap
and water run down the incision.
ξ Do not scrub or rub the site.
ξ Gently clean the site with soap and
water. Pat dry and leave open to air.
ξ The steri strips (the thin pieces of
tape over the incision) hold the skin
together as it heals. These should be
left in place until they fall off on
their own or the nurse will remove
them at your first visit.

Do not use any lotions or ointments over the
incision. As the site heals, you may feel
itching, this is normal. Do not scratch or rub
the site.

Look at the site daily for any signs of
ξ Redness
ξ Swelling
ξ Drainage
ξ Warmth over the site
ξ Increased tenderness
ξ Fever (101° F or greater)

If you notice any of the above, you need to
call the Device Clinic the same day at
(608) 263-1530.

If you have pain at the site, you may take
any mild pain reliever such as
acetaminophen (Tylenol®)) or ibuprofen

Activity restrictions:
For the first month:
ξ Do not have dental work

No driving for 1 week after the procedure
(or longer if recommended by your health
care provider).

ICD ID card
You have been given a temporary ICD ID
card for your defibrillator. Carry your card
with you at all times. The device company
will mail your permanent card in about 2
months. Be sure to let all people that you
see for health and dental care know that you
have a permanent defibrillator. This
includes all doctors, nurses, dentists,
chiropractors, or any other person you see
for your health care.

Electrical hazards
There are certain electrical hazards to be
aware of. See below for a list of cautions,
things to avoid, and devices that are okay to
be around. This is just a partial list. For
more information, call your device
company. The phone number is on the back
of your ID card.

ξ MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
ξ Working under the hood of a running
ξ Electrocautery in the operating room
or dentist’s office
ξ Arc welding

ξ Therapeutic radiation
ξ Cell phones: These should be at least
6 inches from your ICD. Place the
phone on the ear opposite of your
ICD or use a headset.
ξ Theft detection devices: These are
often around the entrances of stores.
Walk through them as usual. Do not
linger near these.
ξ Airport security: Tell security staff
you have a device and show them
your Medical Device ID card.
ξ Magnets: Anything with a magnet
should be kept at least 6-8 inches
away from your ICD. This includes
magnetic snaps in jackets, magnetic
name badges, and electronic
equipment with a magnetic strip.

Okay to be around
ξ Microwave ovens
ξ Hair dryers
ξ Electric blankets and heating pads
ξ Computers
ξ Radios, TVs, and stereos

When to call
Call the doctor or pacemaker nurse
the same day if:
ξ You feel a shock from your
ξ You have signs of infection such as
redness, swelling, drainage, warmth,
increased tenderness over the site, or
fever (any temperature above

Call 911 for emergency help if:
ξ You are shocked more than once
ξ You are shocked and feel that you do
not return to your normal self a few
minutes later.

Who to call
ξ UW Health Heart and Vascular Care
Device Clinic
ξ Monday to Friday call
(608) 263-1530. After hours, nights,
weekends, and holidays, the clinic
number will be answered by the
message center. Ask for the
cardiology fellow on call. Give the
operator your full name and phone
number with the area code. The
doctor will call you back.
ξ If you live out of the area, please call

Planning for the future
Even if your ICD is placed as a precaution,
we ask that you fill out advance directives.
These are legal forms that allow you to state
your health care wishes for future health

care should you be unable to make health
care decisions. A Durable Power of
Attorney for Health Care allows you to
name someone you know and trust to act on
your behalf if you can no longer speak for
yourself. The Living Will only covers “end
of life” decisions when life-support
machines and/or feeding tubes are used.
These forms tell others about your health
care wishes and can help guide care. They
make it easier for doctors and family
members to follow through with your health
care wishes. The nurse case manager and/or
social worker can help you with these forms
if needed.
We encourage you to think about your ICD
in case you are diagnosed with a terminal
illness or suffer a major injury. You do have
the choice to “deactivate” (turn off) the ICD
at any point in time. If your ICD is turned
off, it will not shock you if your heart goes
into an unsafe rhythm, which could lead to a
cardiac arrest and even death. We feel this is
important to discuss with your family and
health care team.

Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 8/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7165