Life with an ICD

Hi - I recently experienced v-tach while practicing brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). One of the outcomes from my visit to the ER is that I will need an ICD. In fact, it will be installed this Friday.

While trying to come to terms with how this is impacting my life, I found this site while searching for information about training BJJ with an ICD. Overall, this site seems super helpful and I'm happy to have a forum where I can connect with others. It's very isolating being 37 and being told that I need an ICD.

Going back to what brought me here, searching for information about training BJJ with an ICD, I found that most posts online were brief and had little, if any, follow up which left me wondering how practical it really is to think that I can train BJJ again.

With that in mind, I started a blog (link below) where I will continue to write about my journey of receiving an ICD and life afterwards in an effort to help others searching for similar information. I'm not sure if this site allows linking to 3rd party blogs but I didn't see it called out in the terms of service so here I am. I hope someone here finds it helpful!



by AgentX86 - 2023-07-31 18:00:09

The concern is a direct blow to the ICD, in particular, the leads. Direct contact would be incredibly painful but wouldn't do anything to the ICD. It could easily damage your leads. One of the few cautions we're give is to avoid full contact sports.

In your case it would be a real problem but not likely life threatening because your ICD is just watching for ventricular arrhythmias, not initiating every beat.

Discuss this with your doctors. See how conservative they are with you. Each of us will get a different opinion, depending on our condition, the doctor, and probably the phase of the moon.

Great blog!💕

by Lavender - 2023-07-31 21:19:20

Your blog is wonderful!! Very clear concise and easy to follow wording will certainly be a plus to anyone on the path behind you!

Love the Iron Man Mask!! Brilliantly chosen given his need to wear a device to keep his life going!! Kudos!!! Well done! 

Life with an ICD

by Gemita - 2023-08-01 05:24:54

Armbar, thank you for the blog, so well written and presented.  It is a wonderful way of keeping a diary and a record of your symptoms, as well as helping other members about to embark on a similar journey.  I hope everything goes well on Friday and that you will heal quickly from the procedure.

I cannot imagine your blog will cause any offence on this site or break any rules, since I see members are/will be able to read the entire blog without subscribing to it or giving their email address?  

I don't know what the Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) means for your future and whether you can get back to what you love but building up slowly and "pacing yourself" is a good way to start so that you will know how much you can "safely" do.  With any arrhythmia and especially an arrhythmia that could potentially trigger a shock at any time, testing/pacing yourself in this way will ensure that you always remain safe and symptom free as far as possible.

I have some non sustained VT that my pacemaker always flags but since it is not sustained (lasting less than 30 seconds and stopping without intervention) my doctors aren't concerned.  Many highly trained athletes get short periods of non sustained VT which can be normal for them.  I certainly know when it happens but it always, so far, stops on its own but it is a reminder that I may need to slow down and give my heart time to recover.

You are only 37 and other than your VT you seem to be doing well.  Many members with ICDs lead very active lives. Perhaps you could work with a sports/cardiac therapist to find a safe level of exercise for you and a level that would still challenge you as you move forward.   

Thank you for sharing!

by John_Locke - 2023-08-01 08:11:38

Welcome Armbar,

We have different conditions and different journeys leading up to the point of getting an implanted device but we're both young in these circles and both otherwise in good general health so there is a lot that I can relate to in your story and the realisation that you're now going to rely on a small computer in your chest looking after your heart.

It's great that you're sharing your story in this way. It's one thing knowing the theory of what your body is doing and how an implanted device might help, it's another actually going through it. I wish you all the best of luck with what's to come and hope that you'll keep the blog going. I'm sure that this will be a great source of information, reassurance, and comfort for especially other young individuals that find themselves in a similar situation in the future.

Thank you!

by Armbar - 2023-08-11 12:29:39

Thank you all for your comments! The support I am feeling over the past week is so amazing!

For those that are interested, I have published a follow up post!

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