During your periodical S-ICD check ups, your device battery level is monitored. Your doctor will tell you when its time to plan for the S-ICD device replacement. Your doctor will plan this well in advance so that your S-ICD will continue to function normally throughout the time to replacement. This replacement procedure is also called "S-ICD box change".
The procedure to change out the S-ICD device is very straightforward. The battery is hermetically sealed within the S-ICD device, so during a “battery” replacement, you will actually get a new S-ICD device. During this procedure only the "box" or S-ICD device itself needs replacement – the electrode will stay in place as it should not need to be replaced.
Changing out the device generally takes about 40 minutes and is performed under local or general anaesthesia.
This is how it goes:
- Once you are connected to a heart rate monitor, your S-ICD settings are adjusted as a preparation for the procedure.
- An incision is made on, or near your already existing scar (the one on the left side of the chest, next to the rib cage).
- Your “old” S-ICD pulse generator is taken from its “pocket” and disconnected from your lead.
- A new S-ICD pulse generator, with a full battery is connected to your lead and inserted in your pocket.
- The incision will be closed and your new S-ICD will be turned on and programmed with the same settings as your previous device.
- The device might or might not be tested; upon your doctors assessment.
S-ICD patient Rob is openly sharing his experience. Find out more here.
The S-ICD Box Change Recovery
Because every S-ICD patient is different, it’s hard to say with certainty what your recovery time will be from the box change procedure. In general, you should be able to return home the same day, or the day after your procedure.
Because with this procedure, only the device gets changed-out in the already existing pocket, you primarily will only need to recover from the new incision that was made on, or close to your old scar. This would mean that the recovery from the S-ICD box change should be much faster (about 2 weeks) than your recovery from the initial S-ICD implant (4-6 weeks).
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.