CARDIAC DEVICE IMPLANTATION AND HEART ABLATION RECOVERY
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Make sure to protect any incision site or implant area.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions about medications carefully.
- Ask your medical team questions if you need clarification.
- Wait to remove bandages until your doctor tells you to.
- Loss of appetite
- Problems sleeping
- Mood swings
You can expect these to disappear as you recover.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR
- A lack of enjoyment of activities you once enjoyed
- Thoughts of suicide or harming yourself
- A tendency to avoid activities, people, intimacy or other situations that may affect your heart rate
- Sadness or excessive anxiety
- Fear of receiving a shock, if you received an ICD, that limits your daily activities
IF YOU RECEIVED AN ICM
Certain signs can indicate infection, which can be serious. These signs include:
- Drainage at the incision site
Also reach out if you have:
- Allergic reaction
- Excessive bleeding
- Nerve pain or numbness
- Excessive scarring
- Cyst formation
Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.
IF YOU RECEIVED A PACEMAKER WITH LEADS OR ICD
You may experience tenderness at the implant site, which may be normal. However, be sure to call your doctor immediately if the pocket in your chest area where your pacemaker or ICD was implanted becomes painful, swollen or red (whether or not you also have a fever). Other reasons to call include having palpitations, feeling dizzy or fainting.
IF YOU RECEIVED CARDIAC ABLATION
- Drainage at the incision site
- Chest, jaw, shoulder or arm pain
- A rapid heart rhythm
- Unusual chest sensation
- Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs
- Excessive bleeding or unusual nose bleeds
- Shortness of breath
These can indicate problems with your heart.
- Swelling of your feet or ankles
- Blood in your urine or bloody or black tarry stool
- General weakness or loss of energy
- Blurred vision or vision loss
ATTEND YOUR APPOINTMENTS
- Your doctor may need to make minor adjustments to your cardiac device, which can be done wirelessly in his or her office. The device relays information about its battery, runs system checks and reports on your heart’s rhythms. Your doctor can evaluate this information and change settings, if needed.
- After any incision has healed and your doctor has determined that your device is working properly, you will still have regular follow-up visits. Your doctor will advise you on how often you need to be evaluated.
- If you are an ICD patient, your doctor may need to see you once or twice a year or after you have received a shock. Be sure to discuss what to do if you receive a shock from your device.
- Pay close attention to instructions about when it will be safe to lift heavy objects.
- Your health care team may advise you on an appropriate activity level and make a recommendation for physical therapy. It is important that you understand why your doctor recommends a specific therapy and that you fully participate in your recovery.
- Your doctor might also recommend counseling to manage or reduce your stress levels, and you may need to adopt a more heart-healthy diet.
INVOLVE FAMILY AND FRIENDS
As your caregivers, family members or friends may want to attend your doctor appointments with you. This can be quite helpful, as they can take notes, organize any materials you receive, handle appointment scheduling and provide transportation. They can also help you by:
- Making arrangements for your recovery at home, including providing heart-healthy meals, assisting you with getting dressed and maintaining a stress-free environment
- Watching for signs of complications
- Keeping you on schedule with medications and rehabilitation
- Helping to keep your spirits up