Summer bathing suit or cover up with biventricular ICD implanted

I had a biventricular ICD implanted 2 weeks ago. I knew there was going to be a scar an a slight prteusion but my device is large and is very noticeable. I’m a 67 y/o female and 108lbs with small frame. I’m vacationing on a beach and I’m at a loss how I can cover up most of my protrusion. I’m blessed and very thankful for this device as it truly saved my life. Any ideas would be helpful.


Obvious PM?

by AgentX86 - 2019-06-05 11:10:53

Wear it like a badge of honor? You sound like you're at peace with a hunk of electronics saving your life. Embrace it!

You are a cyborg now

by Zackalope - 2019-06-05 14:26:27

It's ok to be a cyborg. I agree with the badge of honor thing.

Wary of Infection

by Swangirl - 2019-06-05 16:39:47

I would not go near any body of water--pool, lake, hot tub, or beach until six weeks post op.  I don't know what beach you will be going to but many of them, especially the ones in third world countries, are ripe with pollutants.  I spent some time on a sailboat and you would not believe how many marinas allowed raw sewage to be discharged into the water.  In Mexico they didn't even have a pump out station and just a short distance from the boats was a beach, that looked nice enough.  Even in California, all kinds of garbage wash up on the beach.  

This would be more important to me than a bulge on my chest, although I have found lots of high neck swimsuits that cover mine nicely and honestly when you get to be our age, no one cares, no one is looking.  Our bathing beauty days are long gone and it's now about health.   

Pacemaker visibility

by Selwyn - 2019-06-05 18:03:58

I swim regularly, as does my wife.  In all the years I have had a PM, the only person saying anything has been my pre-school grand-daughter.  There is a bulge - I expect as you get older there may be more than one!  My grand-daughter seemed satisfied that like the Duracell bunny I was battery powered to swim on and on. 

Clearly, you could do the Islamic thing and cover up. There are fashion beach jackets if you want that film star look.

Our choice is for Funkita swim wear- by the time folk are dazzled by the patterns, they will not be looking at the bulges.

See      . You will find some rather wider than usual shoulder straps.  My wife now looks like a film star and has had numerous requests for info as to where she gets her lovely swim wear from. 

Swimming attire

by Laritn - 2019-06-05 18:40:50

I’ll check that site out. I found a Tankita top & bottom today that totally covers the area. That’s what I told my grandchildren. Nani got an Everyready battery to keep my heart going like the Everready bunny!

Two Things that...

by donr - 2019-06-05 23:52:45

...people  think stick out like a sore thumb & the world sees & laughs at

1) behind the ear hearing aids

2) Pacemekers/ICD's.

The truth is - neither are obnious.  I have both! 

Hearing aids - they are tucked in behind the ear & no one ever realizes they are there.  When I got my first ones in 1987, they were just coming into their own w/ micro-miniature electronics.  A year later I was going on job interviews & I felt self conscious at first - but after the first interview I realized no one saw or cared about them!

PM's - I was in a PT pool at a clinic and was chatting w/ a woman.  I asked her if she could see my PM.  She looked at me & askede where it was.  It was then only in for a year after a replacement.    I had to show her where it was.  Unless it is brand new of barnyard ugly, no one sees or cares about them! 

Prostheses have become so common that people w/ artificial linbs - especially legs - wear them as a badge of honor.    It's kinda like saying - I've got a "Handicap,"  But I have overcome it.


I doubt anyone will notice

by BHVietak - 2019-06-06 03:55:38

I doubt anyone will notice but if it makes you self-conscious, you might want to look into one of those bathing suits with ruffles on the neckline.  I’m self-conscious about my chest and feel like no one is noticing it when I have cute ruffles on my top.  Those would definitely hide any bulge.

That said, I once chipped a tooth and not one person commented.  I speak with people all day long and they should be directly looking at my face.  If they didn’t notice that; you are probably safe from prying eyes a bit lower and in an area where it is impolite to stare.  Have fun on vacation!

High-neck swim suits from Lands' End

by Jo S - 2019-06-06 13:51:05

I was very worried about swim suits when I found out I would need a pacemaker, especially since I didn't want my PM discomfort to turn me into the mom who never took her kids to the pool.  If people want to wear it as a badge of honor that's great, but I'm still adjusting to the idea of needing a pacemaker at 46 and I would rather choose who to tell and when rather than have them see it.

My solution was buying high-neck swim suits online from Lands' End.  They definitely covered the site of my scar.  I have enough extra tissue in that area that I don't have a protrusion, but I would think it wouldn't be very visible between the material's pattern and the suit not being too tight if you buy the right size.


by ROBO Pop - 2019-06-06 15:20:36

It's really simple...stand next to a 30 year old. I'm certain no one will notice your bulge

As Pop said...

by donr - 2019-06-06 17:51:03

...especially if you swim at a nude beach...


C'mon Robo

by AgentX86 - 2019-06-06 18:11:33

Even if you stood next to a 30 year-old, all the ladies would notice your bulge.

Pacemaker bulge size matters

by Laritn - 2019-06-06 19:20:42

I’m reading some comments who say their bulge isn’t that noticeable. I’m 68 y/o female whose a 107 lbs on a good day. Surgeon planned to insert device under muscle because I didn’t have enough padded tissue. He wasn’t  able to because he couldn’t control my bleeding. Don’t get me wrong I’m grateful I received it but I didn’t expect the “bulge” to be this large. I’ve seen a couple other pacemaker bulges not as big as mine. Are there different sizes? Mine is a Medtronic biventricular Pacemaker.

Size matters

by AgentX86 - 2019-06-06 23:41:24

I'm a fairly big guy (5'10, 197lbs.) and my Medtronic CRT (they are larger) is clearly visible, as are the wires leaving it.  I can only imagine that at about half my weight, yours are even more obvious. I guess it's because I'm an old guy that it doesn't bother me to have the lump.  Vanity has never been my thing.


by ROBO Pop - 2019-06-07 13:42:53

Dependent on the make, model, and manufacturer device sizes do vary quite a bit. All defibrillators are larger than just a pacemaker. The defibrillator has all the same electronics as a pacemaker plus a large capacitor and associated components to provide shock therapy. Then theres the big boy which is a Bi-ventricular device also called a CRT-D which provides pacing to both ventricles.

 there's the number of leads you have which can further exacerbate the problem of appearance.

So yeah theres a lot of size variation. You know with your small stature he could have implanted your device in the abdominal region to better hide it.

Seriously though, and I don't mean to be insulting, but at your age do you really think people will notice? Pacemakers and defib are so common now people ignore them. I have a CRT-D in my right shoulder and a massive divot in the left from where my device originally was before being infected. I go topless all the time and nobody has ever said a word...

Vanity I guess

by Laritn - 2019-06-07 14:07:41

     Yes I’m 67 y/o femaie with a very small frame. I do have the “big boy” but so thankful that I do. I’ve lost my father and youngest brother to heart failure caused by advanced cardiomyopathy affecting left ventricle. Without this device I wouldn’t live very long. Meds wouldn’t improve my Stage 4 heart failure. I’m still a woman who enjoys feeling pretty however I’d rather live longer than feel pretty and lie in my bed unable to do anything. I’ve learned a lot reading these posts. I really was not prepared for this large of a device. It makes total sense as you said because of its mechanics to pump My ventricles and be able to defibrillate my heart if needed. Thanks everyone for your input. It’s greatly appreciated.

     I wish he would have implanted in the abdominal region. It truly takes up my left upper chest up to my collar bone almost into my armpit. He was going to implant under muscle but said he couldn’t stop the bleeding? It’s very uncomfortable but as I said I’m alive!

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