Getting back to daily life
Your ICD or S-ICD system is designed to monitor and treat dangerously fast ventricular heart rhythms so you can lead a full and active life. You can find some general tips about resuming normal activities after your implant procedure below. But be sure to talk to your doctor about what’s right for your specific situation.
Exercise and Sports
Your healthcare provider may ask you to avoid strenuous activity, especially upper body activity, for a few months after the procedure to give you time to heal. After that, you will probably be able to do most of the things you did before your implant.
Your underlying heart condition and your ICD or S-ICD device will factor into the type and amount of exercise you can do, so be sure to talk to your doctor about what level of physical activity is best for you.
Your doctor may recommend an exercise test to check the settings on your implanted device for the heart rate you achieve during activity. With the information from an exercise test, you and the people involved with exercise (coaches, gym instructors, etc.) can understand the physical activity and exercise targets you have.
Driving After ICD Surgery
The driving laws where you live and the symptoms caused by your arrhythmia will often determine whether you can drive. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider about any driving restrictions you may have.
Whether you’re a driver or passenger, you may want to find padding to cover your surgery site and make wearing a seatbelt more comfortable. You may find pads in local retail stores that will provide comfort for your pocket site.
It’s common to be concerned about whether it’s safe to resume sexual intimacy after an ICD procedure. For most people with an ICD, sexual activity is not a medical risk. This is because the natural heart rate increase that occurs during sex is the same as the heart rate increase when you exercise.
Exercise testing at the hospital will help your doctor program your device settings so you should not get a shock during sex. If you do receive a shock during sex, your partner may feel a tingling sensation. However, the shock will not harm your partner. Be sure to let your doctor know if you receive a shock during sex so he or she can consider reprogramming your device.
Talk to Your Doctor
Every patient’s situation is unique, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about ways to safely resume normal activities after your ICD procedure.