Many of the people we speak to at Arrhythmia Alliance who are recovering from sudden cardiac arrest have questions about implantable devices and how their lives may be affected following implant of a device such as an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). ICD's are fitted to monitor your heart rhythm and shock your heart back into normal sinus rhythm if an abnormal rate is detected. There are actually three circumstances when an ICD might come into action:
• If your heart rhythm is too slow, the device can give your heart extra support by working as a normal pacemaker. This is called anti-bradycardia pacing.
• If your heart beats too fast, the ICD can give you a burst of extra beats at slightly faster rate which will normally return your heart back to a normal rhythm. This is called anti-tachycardia pacing (or ATP).
• If the anti-tachycardia pacing doesn’t bring your heart back to a normal rhythm, or if the ICD senses a faster dangerous rhythm called Ventricular Fibrillation, the ICD can then give a shock. This is called defibrillation.
It is important to adapt to life with a device and understand any lifestyle changes you may need to make. Following implant for example you will have to make the DVLA aware that you are now fitted with a device. It is also important to keep your device identity card on your person at all times.
Finding a suitable travel insurance provider can also be difficult, information is available on our website here heartrhythmcharity.org.uk/w...
Download our ICD Patient Information booklet; heartrhythmcharity.org.uk/w...