• by Beni
  • 2022-08-23 11:53:19
  • ICDs

This is my first post.

I am scheduled to have a CRT-D implanted on September 15th.

I have a couple of questions and would appeciate any and all advice.

I am curious about other's experiences with how they controlled swelling/pain after surgery.  I have aslo read numerous comments about avoiding frozen shoulder issues afterwards.  Perhaps someone could offer some suggestions about range of movement and "gentle" excercises. I would also be interested in hearing about whether or not one experiences improved energy levels and apporximately how long before they have noticed the improvement. And finally, if anyone else has a CRT-D, would they minding sharing how long they have had it?

I have read many postings on this forum and was struck by how supportive and encouraging everyone was.  I am impressed by the wealth of practical knowledge and expreience insight so many of you are willing to extend to others experiencing difficulties.  Thanking you in advance.


post op

by Tracey_E - 2022-08-23 11:56:41

I found ice was the best way to control swelling after.

We aren't supposed to lift anything over 10-20 pounds or raise the arm above the head for 4-6 weeks. Other than that, try to use the arm normally. You shouldn't need any special exercises, just don't get in the habit of not using the arm at all.

Life after PM

by AgentX86 - 2022-08-23 12:54:58

Awelling and pain management are very personalized.  Some have severe problems with it and others, virtually none. Ice is always good for swelling and most find it works for pain, as well.  I find that ice hurts more than the pain it's trying to reduce.  Some find acetaminophen works, however I find it a waste of time.  Ibuprofen works really well for me but, unfortunately, it's really bad for people with heart disease. I don't have a lot of problem with that sort of pain so it was a very quick recovery.  It's a miserable time for many.  Again, every individual is different.  In any case, don't let anyone tell you how you feel or should feel.  You tell them.  You know, they don't know s*.

Response to the pacemaker is also very personal.  Some take weeks to find relief, while for others it's instantaneous.  I felt 10x better before they wheeled me out of the cath lab. Others have a long fight before they feel better.

Restrictions are pretty simple and following the directions given will avoid damage, prolonging recovery, as well as avoiding frozen shoulder.

Essentially, the point of the restrictions are to reduce the stress on the pacemaker site.  The real reason for the restrictions is to allow the pacemaker site to fully heal.  The risk of pulling the leads out of the heart is a canard. Opening the wound is quite serious and has to be avoided at all costs.  Infection of the site is deadly serious.  It takes a while for the pocket to heal so the four to six weeks gives this process plenty of time.

To this end, arm motion is limited to stretching the shoulder in any direction.  This includes reaching over the head, overreaching forward, or behind the back.  All put stress on the tissue around the shoulder.  Avoid these extreme motions and otherwise use your arm as you normally would and you won't get frozen shoulder or rip the incision apart. If you do find yourself reaching too far (we all did), it's not a big deal.  Just scold yourself and move on with your day. If the incision does open, seek medical attention immediately. If there are any signs of infection (lines, oozing,..) get to the ER immediately.  Infections are pretty rare but can be life-threatening. The leads give an infection a highway to the heart.

Hello fellow rug hooker!

by Lavender - 2022-08-23 13:48:58

My grandparents lived on a farm with an attached public cemetery. He was the caretaker and a week or so after the burial, he removed the wilted flowers, turned in the baskets to florists and took all the silk ribbons to my grandmother.  She used them to make beautiful hooked silk rugs. She also cut old clothing into strips to hook into rugs. She taught me this as well as knitting and crotchet. I see you make wool strip rugs!

To answer your questions-I have a CRT-P( no defibrillator). I'm a big fan of icing sore spots. Just be sure to have a small towel between your skin and the ice. Tylenol is my go to because I cannot tolerate ibuprofen. I was told to take 650 mg Tylenol every four hours the first couple days after getting my device. Truthfully there wasn't a lot of pain in the area of the pacemaker. My pain was literally pain in the neck. For that, I found that alternating a heating pad twenty minutes on/twenty minutes off with ice 20 on/20 off really helped. 

I see a massage therapist twice a month. My left arm still gets muscle knots which she kneads out. 

As for frozen shoulder-I never got it because I stopped using the sling within a couple days. I just used my arm naturally remembering to keep the elbow below the shoulder. As AgentX86 said, we all inadvertently raised our arm. For me it was reaching into a kitchen cupboard real high. As soon as I realized what I had done, I panicked worrying about my leads. Of course there was no harm done. 

Good for you for educating and preparing yourself for your new body part!  Your gardens sound lush and beautiful! My kind of atmosphere for sure! Peace and serenity. 

Thank you

by Beni - 2022-08-24 16:06:13

A big thank you to Tracey_E,  AgentX86 and Lavender for taking the time to respond to my questions!  It is very much appreciated.

I find the practical information and reassurrances to be both informative and comforting.  It feels like I am travelling a road that has been travelled many times before me and those who are ahead of me on the trail are guiding me.  And that, I must say, provides me with a great deal of peace of mind.

Again, many thanks.


Good For You...

by Grateful Heart - 2022-08-24 22:54:32

For learning about your condition and device before you receive it.  Knowledge is power!

I didn't know about this site when I had my first CRT-D implanted 14 years ago.  It would have eased my mind. 

My first one lasted 10 years and I received my 2nd device 4 years ago.  All great advice from above, of course. 

Good luck with your device.  You'll be fine!

Grateful Heart

A Week Ahead of You

by DoggieMama - 2022-08-28 04:12:56

Hi, Beni,

I will be about a week ahead of you in getting my device "installed."  My procedure is scheduled for Sept 6. I'm looking forward to it. I expect it will change my energy level drastically. 

I have to spend the night in the hospital, but I will have my phone and my iPad with me. I will keep you posted on my pain level and other things for the week between my procedure and yours if you'd like. 

I wish you the very best with your procedure and your device. 

Doggie Mama

Happy Anniversary!

by R2D2 - 2023-09-19 21:43:58

I see you had your CRT-D implanted a year ago, I wish I would have had someone to talk to before I got mine in. But at least this club is here now and I feel like I have somewhere to go when I need to talk. 

Did you get the results you were hoping for? I'm getting so impatient to get my first post surgery echo.... I know the EF number isn't as important as how I feel, but it sure would be nice to see something bigger than 25. Then I could go back to skiing and other things I used to do. So far, after just 2 months, I am not seeing much difference in my ability to walk very far without getting winded. But I'm trying to be positive and wait for it to work. 

Thanks for sharing your story.


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