When a patient experiences an irregular heartbeat caused by arrhythmia, doctors use several tests to evaluate the heart’s health and execute various operations to treat the disease. Arrhythmia is a relatively prevalent condition, particularly in the United States.

The SA node is located in the heart’s upper right chamber, passing the signals to relax and contract heart muscles. The heart rhythm is affected by electrical signals in the heart, which are interrupted by the disruption of signals. Some types of Arrthymia induce clogged electrical pathways in the heart, producing a too slow or too fast heartbeat. ICDs are used to treat people with heart rhythm disorders such as arrhythmia.

In this condition, medicine is the first line of defense against Arrthymia, but if the condition worsens, doctors may propose an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD). An ICD is a device placed in the patient’s body to monitor cardiac rhythm.

ICDs are used to treat certain disorders such as ventricular tachycardia (when the heart beats excessively swift) or ventricular fibrillation, which occurs when the muscle fibers of the heart’s lower chambers contract rapidly and uncoordinatedly manner, as well as various types of arrhythmia.

Defibrillation procedure

The procedure begins with initial preparation stages such as blood testing and ECGs. After that, doctors may shave your chest, numb the pain with medicines, and use incisions to attach electrodes to it for precision.

The ICD then displays a heart image on a computer screen that helps the doctor examine any abnormal heartbeat or activity. The ICD is a magnet-based device connected to the heart muscles that detects irregularities in the heart’s electrical circuit.

This treatment is painless and takes almost 30 minutes. In case of any complication, doctors may advise you to stay under observation for 24 hours. Doctors usually perform an ICD examination of cardiac patients regularly to monitor their condition and maintain track of changes.

Tests required before Surgery

Before a medical procedure or surgery, your doctor will advise you on certain precautions and perform a few tests before a deliberator checkup. Some of the tests are as follows:

1. ECG:

ECG is an abbreviation of electrocardiography used to know the potential risks before an ICD checkup. During the test, electrodes are placed on the chest to examine the heart’s health by checking heartbeat rate, etc. This procedure is usually painless and has no side effects.

2. Event recorder:

It is a device that the patient wears to examine their heart’s health even when a patient is not in hospital and doing routine tasks. The patient usually wears it for a few days to record any irregular symptoms of heart disease in the event recorder. Doctors typically recommend this device before an ICD checkup.

3. Holter Monitor:

It is a similar device to an event recorder that is used to keep a check on a patient’s heartbeat. Sometimes when doctors can’t detect a heart problem in ECG, they recommend this device to monitor the heart health for a more extended period. This device can also use during routine work.

4. Echocardiography:

This test is a conventional way to examine the heart’s health in which sound waves pass through a person’s heart, and a picture is created on a computer screen.

Doctors examine the heart’s structure and functionality to detect the exact cause of a patient’s heart problems. This test is usually performed along with other medical tests.

5. EP:

It stands for electrophysiology, in which tubes are passed through the heart’s blood vessels attached to the cameras or sensors. It records the electrical signals and shows pictures of the heart’s functionality on the computer screen. It is another test to check the heart’s health and detect the exact problem of any heart disease.

Oximeter: This device is used to check the oxygen levels in the blood. It is a small device clipped on your finger.

6. Precautions before and after ICD

According to your doctor’s recommendations, you must take several preventive measures before the treatment to avoid difficulties. You could be told to avoid specific foods and drinks, but if you’re on any medications, tell your doctor. After an examination, the doctor will advise you whether or not you should continue it before ICD placement.

When the ICD operation is completed, doctors usually discharge the patient after a day of observation. You may need someone to look after and drive you home safely following the surgery because driving is not advised after an ICD.

The area can be inflamed for seven days or weeks after ICD implantation. Your doctor can prescribe pain relievers to help you recuperate. Moreover, aspirin and ibuprofen might cause bleeding; they should be avoided after surgery. You must limit the movement of your left arm for roughly seven weeks to keep the leads in place until the wound is entirely healed.

Depending on your doctor’s advice, daily activities such as driving may need to be restricted. Likewise, other activities requiring vigorous shoulder movements, such as golf, tennis, swimming, cycling, bowling, or vacuuming, should be avoided for nearly a month after surgery.

Any sport that involves heavy contact should be avoided in the long run to ensure the device’s best performance.

Furthermore, you must prevent electronic and magnetic devices near ICD implantation, such as mobile phones, as most people keep their phones in the upper pocket of their shirts. After ICD, specific procedures like MRI and MRA are not recommended to prevent the disruption in the functioning of ICD and the placement of wires.

References:

  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/implantable-cardioverter-defibrillators/about/pac-20384692 retrieved on May 02, 2022.
  • https://www.texasheart.org/heart-health/heart-information-center/topics/implantable-cardioverter-defibrillator-icd/ retrieved on May 02, 2022.
  • https://flcard.com/office-services/implantable-cardioverter-defibrillator-icd-check/ retrieved on May 02, 2022.
  • https://brookhavenheart.com/importance-regular-pacemaker-defibrillator-checks/ retrieved on May 02, 2022.