New ICD recipient

  • by dibs
  • 2007-11-11 10:11:47
  • ICDs

Hi all,
My name is Donnal. My Boyfriend who is 48 had a massive heart attack at 42- two arteries @ 90% blockage.
could only stent one and waited 4 years to stent the other.
He passed out about three months ago just after a stress test and the last stent. The Cardiologist recommended a ICD to be implanted immediately.
John is also quite bipolar and with the worries himself sick over the ICD. I need advice from your experiences with your device.
He is going this Tuesday to be released to drive.
He had it put in 09/19/07. He is dizzy fairly often when he goes from sitting to standing and is quite fearful of passing out.
I have the same thing and it is NOT a cardiac issue for me.
However, I do realize that for John this dizziness has everything to do with his heart. He is on alot of meds not only for his heart but for his bipolar.
What I want to know to begin with is this. Are any of you always dizzy when you first stand up ? Is this something that John will need to get acustomed to ? Can the ICD be adjusted to allieviate some of the dizziness?
What about driving? Do you feel comfortable driving?



by ela-girl - 2007-11-11 11:11:54

Hi, Donnal!

Your poor guy! Sounds like he is dealing with quite a lot at the moment. He is lucky to have you around to help him and to help find some answers. This site is a great support group, so come here often!

Well, I don't have an ICD but a dual chamber pacemaker. I had been blacking out without warning for 4 years before I had my pacemaker put in via emergency surgery. I had severe bradycardia (low heart rate) along with some other issues that was causing my balckouts. I mention this because of your boyfriend's dizziness when he goes from sitting to standing. This can be common for many people, but I was diagnosed with neurocardiogenic syncope (it has other names, too) and wondered if you guy may have this condition or had been told what may be causing his dizziness? Sometimes it can be not having enough salt in your diet or an electrolyte imbalance, too. There are many other things that can cause the dizziness, so if he hasn't mentioned this to the doc, I think he should. Although my pacemaker has almost 100% relieved my symptoms, I still can get dizzy if I sit up in bed too fast or am sitting on the couch and get up to fast. It's hard to slow myself down even though I know I have to! I also take beta blockers to help with my condition. I don't know how long your guy has been taking his meds or what they are, but did you look at any of the side affects? Perhaps this is the culprit? Or maybe some of them are not mixing well together? Just some thoughts...

As for the driving...I didn't drive for 4 years...more out of my own fear than my doctor really restricting me (although he did say I shouldn't drive for 6 months after any blackout but knows that for most people, not driving is not an option). I started driving a few weeks after my pacemaker implant for the first time in forever and felt great! I was a little sore at first and it took some time (almost a year!) for me to get comfortable with a seatbelt over my implant area. It doesn't bother me now for the most part. I still get a little nervous because my blackouts can still happen even with the pacemaker, but praise God I haven't had any problems and it's been over a year!

It takes some time to adjust to an ICD or pacemaker and to learn to trust it. And most of us come out of surgery with factory settings on our devices to ensure that the device is functioning properly. Over the next few months, your boyfriend should have some adjustments made and usually with some tweaking, many symptoms can disappear. But we're all different and it's a lot of trial and error to find the right settings. Don't be afraid to call the doc and insist on help. You guys are a team and you should feel comfortable asking for assistance.

So that's what I have to say! I'm sure others will chime in, too, with their great experiences. Please take care and let us know how he is doing!



by Peter.Nash - 2007-11-12 07:11:07

I hace an ICD I don't think they can be ajusted unless of course it is a combination job... Well that is not exactly correct the can be ajusted but not in the same way as a pacemaker..
When I had mine put in I had a 6 months driving ban and really had no problems driving but I did have this dizzy thing and sitting standing and getting in and out of the car which made wonder if I was fit to drive the finish it was all down to meds dropping my BP when that was sorted out the dizzyness went and made my life a whole lot easier...I think you have a lot to consider here but keep pressing for answers don't be fobbed Far as the ICD implant goes once it heald up I totally forget it is there it is just part of me pure and simple... I wish you the best of luck keep at it and stay wih the people on this site you are in good company... Peter

New ICD / Dizziness

by rc - 2007-11-12 08:11:33

Hi Donnal,
I can speak about ICDs, but only from my perspective.
I cannot speak about your boyfriends BP, because I dont have any background or experience in that area.

I've had my ICD and three stents for 19-mos and have never had any real restritions on driving. As I recall the instructions were to take it slow & easy for first couple of weeks (no cross country trips etc) and then just use common sense. I now drive all over - including cross country trips - without any problems.

As memory serves me, the doctors told me to go back to having pretty much my old normal / active life.
I try to not let the device limit my activity. I get out, play golf, sail, scuba dive. Pretty much anything that I want to do.

Each individual is different, and each of us reacts to things like implants differently. I really dont pay my "tin heart" too much attention - it's just something that's there and is apparently doing what it's suppose to be doing. I havent been zapped and the thing is pacing about 65% of the time. So as long as its not broke, I'm not gonna try & fix it.

There are a lot of adjustments that can be made to an implanted ICD. And your BFs cardiologist will be doing tests and making adjustments based on the info that the Dr is getting from the ICDs memory chip.
The adjustments are completely painless and are non-invasive. They take only a minute or two.

Hope this sheds a little positive light on the situation for you.

Best of luck & God bless to both of you.


by dibs - 2007-11-13 07:11:31

We are going today for a "release to drive" visit. [hopefully] - I have written down my questions. You know, we really dont even have a clear answer as to why he had the device implanted. I can add it all up myself and have a fairly good idea but I am going to ask specifically today. Its good to know that life gets easier as days go by.
Wish us luck. I Know we must sound like whiney babies at this point so thanks so very much for taking the time to answer our questions.
hugs and much love
Donna and John !

You know you're wired when...

Your ICD has a better memory than you.

Member Quotes

I'm 35 and got my pacemaker a little over a year ago. It definitely is not a burden to me. In fact, I have more energy (which my husband enjoys), can do more things with my kids and have weight because of having the energy.