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S-ICD Implantation What to Expect

The implantation is done as an outpatient procedure. Recovery is quick with patients returning to normal daily activities within a few days. Full recovery can take from several days to a few months, based on your overall health.

Precautions include letting other medical and dental professionals know that you have an implanted S-ICD. You will need to follow up with your cardiologist regularly to monitor the device and your heart condition.

Prior to Surgery

  • You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), Clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood thinners.
  • Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of the surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have.
  • You will have blood samples taken in case you need a blood transfusion.
  • Let your doctor know if you have a cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout or other illness prior to surgery. This may require that your reschedule your procedure.
  • Do not smoke. This will help you to recover quicker.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After Surgery

  • This is normally done as an outpatient procedure in our electrophysiology lab.
  • You will have a dressing over your surgical site for the next few days. You will need to keep if dry and avoid showering.
  • This surgery has a quick recovery with most patients feeling much better within the first week, but full recovery can take up to a few months, based on your overall health status.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

  • While you may feel much better after the first week, you need to follow your physician’s orders on recommended activities.
  • You will have follow-up appointments to monitor the device and to check on your heart condition.

S-ICD Implantation Q&A

What does S-ICD implantation involve?

A patient is awake, but is given medication to relax and the incision site is numbed. Your cardiologist will make a small incision on the side of the chest near your armpit. Two smaller incisions are made to guide the unit into place using guide wires and a catheter. The unit is installed just under the skin – subcutaneously.

How many incisions are made?

Three incisions are made – one on the side of the chest and two smaller incisions are made in the center of the chest.

How long do I stay in the hospital?

Patients normally are released the same day and recover at home.

What is the recovery time?

Most patients feel better after the first few days, but full recovery can take up to several months in some cases.