Because every S-ICD patient is different, it’s hard to say with certainty what your recovery time will be. In general, you should be able to return home the day after your implant procedure. Full recovery from the procedure normally takes about 4 to 6 weeks.
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Your doctor will provide you with a complete set of instructions to follow once your procedure is completed. Always consult your doctor for specific information or to ask any additional questions you might have. You‘ll also receive a patient identification card, which alerts medical and security professionals that you have an implanted medical device.
Though different people recover at different paces, the following timeline can give you an idea of what to expect and when:
Day of your implant
- You will be given a course of antibiotics to take before and after the implantation procedure to minimize the risk of infection. Be sure to finish taking the complete course of antibiotics, even if you feel better.
1 day later
- As the wound can feel quite bruised and sore, especially for the first day or two, you should take analgesics (painkillers) as needed but don’t exceed the recommended daily dose.
- Talk to your nurse about any pain you might be experiencing
1 week later
- Keep the wound clean and dry until it has fully healed.
- It’s fine to have a bath or shower after the first 3 or 4 days. Your nurse can provide you with a protective dressing so that you can bathe without getting the wound wet.
- Report any problems you have with the wound to your nurse.
1 month later
- A few weeks after your S-ICD System has been implanted, you will have an initial appointment with your doctor to make sure your incision is healing well and your device is working correctly. This may be followed by regular visits with your doctor every 3 to 6 months.
What You Could Expect During Recovery
First 2 weeks after your procedure
Care and restrictions
(make sure to follow the instructions given to you by your physician)
- Try to avoid arm movements that could create pressure on the wound.
- Avoid exercise (although you do not need to stay seated or lying down)
- Avoid lifting heavy objects (this will slow healing and increase the chance of infection)
First 4 to 6 weeks after your procedure
- When your wounds have healed, you can move freely
- Slowly build up your level of exercise
- Avoid contact sports (e.g. football, rugby). If you want to drive, check to see if there are any restrictions
- Talk with your doctor before taking a long-distance trip
- Once you have fully recovered from the implant procedure, there should be little change to your normal daily life.
- Even if the hospital provided you with Remote Patient Monitoring system, your doctor may still schedule regular visits with you every 3 to 6 months to see how you are doing and to check your S-ICD. During these follow-ups, your doctor may adjust the settings of your S-ICD using a wireless programmer.
- If your S-ICD delivers therapy (an electric shock), you should notify your doctor. Some people experience the therapy as painful or uncomfortable. While it might be startling, it means that the S-ICD may have detected a dangerously fast heart rhythm and delivered the defibrillation therapy you needed to reset your heart’s electrical system.