The normal recovery period following defibrillator implantation is six to eight weeks, varying with each patient. During that time, avoid strenuous activities such as lifting heavy objects, vigorous push-pull movements (vacuuming) and above the shoulder activities (swimming, tennis, golf). (See Pacemaker Care Fact Sheet.) You should notify your surgeon if you develop a fever, redness or drainage around any of your surgical wounds. Gradually return to daily activity and rest when you're tired.
Responding To Shock Therapy
If you feel the symptoms that tell you your arrhythmia has begun, stay calm and move to where you can sit or lie down comfortably. If you do not feel well after the shock, or if more than three shocks occur, call your cardiologist or 911. If you feel fine after the shock, you do not need to seek medical attention. Instead, call your cardiologist at your earliest convenience.
Things To Avoid
- Tight belts and restrictive clothing around the defibrillator
- Driving (until cleared by your cardiologist)
- Sources of strong electric or magnetic fields, such as:
- airport security wands
- stereo speakers
- industrial equipment
- arc welders
- large generators
- power plants
- diathermy procedures
- touching the spark plug or distributor on a running car or lawn mower
- touching the antenna of an operating CB or HAM radio
Things To Remember
Carry your identification card and wear a medical alert necklace or bracelet at all times. Notify healthcare providers of your defibrillator. Contact your cardiologist before you have any surgery or treatments. Schedule and keep all appointments for follow-up visits. Call the Florida Heart Group Arrhythmia Clinic for problems or questions: 407-894-4474 or 1-800-284-3278, ext. 465.
Cardiovascular diagnostic and interventional procedures may cause unexpected problems, but serious and life-threatening problems are unusual. Your Florida Heart Group physician will discuss the potential risks and benefits in detail so you can both decide which treatment is best for you.