I do not have a ICD but my husband does and I hope it is still appropriate for me to post on his behalf. He had a medtronics ICD placed in 2003, in all that time he had 7 shocks. Last month that ICD was replaced with the new and improved medtronics virtuoso, he has had 2 shocks and 1 pace with this ICD in less then a month. Both shocks put him unconscious and scared me beyond words. He feels them coming on and gets to the floor as fast as he can. Now the only thing that has changed is the ICD, but yet the doctors are telling him to take more coreg and amiodarone. I have asked them could it be the ICD or the settings and they are telling us that the ICD is doing its job. Well his life has changed dramatically with this new ICD. Why and how could he go from 1 shock every 5-6 months to shocks weekly. And only after receiving the new virtuoso. We are scared, seeing him lying on the floor and not being able to do anything about it, is taking its tole. Has anyone here ever had a problem like this..Thanks



by candi51 - 2008-07-10 03:07:47

Hello and welcome to the PM club!

I have only had my ICD for 6 wks now but I have done ALOT of research and have a friend who is a St Jude rep.

I would think the 1st thing to do is find an EP who will listen to you as well as talking to the Meditronic rep about these shocks.

Of course you want to find out if the shocks were necessary or undue if possible. If it is a biventicular device(2 or more leads) than they will have more info available than if it is just a single lead. Can the interrogate the device to find out what was happening before he was shocked?

From what I have learned there is a term called T wave oversensing that refers to undue shocks. Basically the device overestimates the true rythyms. On some ICD's there are settings that can be changed to help avoid this. I would definately find out if that was an option for your husband.

I have my device reps direct e-mail address and she is very helpful has far as answering the questions that I have and I can usually keep her attention longer than the Dr's and get more questions answered.

Don't be afraid to keep pushing until you get the answers that you need. Unfortunately we have to be our own or our family's own best advocates or risk fading into the background.

Best wishes!


by SMITTY - 2008-07-10 11:07:28

Hello Cissie,

Welcome to the PM Club family. When it comes to pacemakers all questions here are appropriate. Especially those being asked by a person on behalf of a remember of their family.

I have looked at you message several times and even discussed it with others whose opinion I value very highly and I wish I could give you some good answers, but I have none.

Our conclusion is that your husband may have an incompetent doctor, or a very busy doctor, whose practice will not allow him to adequately take care of all his patients. Or maybe one that has forgotten he took an oath that continued the words, "to do no harm."

My suggestion is that if at all possible get your husband to another doctor. To me your message says he is not getting the care he is entitled to from this one.

I wish him the best,


I concur!

by auntiesamm - 2008-07-11 02:07:47

Smitty and Electric Frank have been our resident experts for lack of a better description. Both are extremely knowledgeable and great researchers on behalf of all of us. When I got my PM 2 years ago and found this club Smitty was right there, available to me and answered so many questions I had. Not that there are not others who can also answer questions and provide information. It is just that these 2 gentlemen are always available and answer questions very quickly. I agree with both that you should seek an opinion from the rep, but I would also find another cardiologist or EP. Your husband and you need a physician who will listen to the complaints, investigate the causes and come up with a solution. See if someone in your community, your church, at work know of physicians they would recommend. There are several avenues for finding good docs. Where do you live? I wish your husband good health and answers to his ICD problems. Please keep us posted and know you are both being lifted up in prayer. God bless you.

Sharon (So CA)

See the Medtronics rep

by ElectricFrank - 2008-07-11 02:07:52

Request or demand an appointment with the Medtronics rep. Most cardiologists and doctors are totally incompetent when it comes to programming these devices. It is just too far out of their field. I have had nothing but good experience with the Medtronics rep.
By the way I doubt it is the ICD causing your husband to pass out. That generally happens when the heart goes into Vfib or stops. The job of the ICD is to jolt it back to normal rhythm. If it isn't done quick enough the person loses consciousness before the restart occurs.
This is a serious situation. I would mention the word lawsuit to the doctors office. This may get his/her attention.


Don't talk about lawsuits

by ted - 2008-07-11 03:07:54

Electric Frank is one of the most knowledgable guys around. I never disagree with him. But...I the word "lawsuit" is a dirty word around a doctor's office. If I were a doctor and a patient used that word, I would tell the patient to get another doctor. You have to first know what the doctor did wrong, or what did he not do, that he should have done? You can't just go around yelling "lawsuit" just because someone doesn't feel good. You have to have evidence of malpractice or negligence. Doctors are not magicians and can't always pull a rabbit out of a hat everytime, for everybody. There is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion, but you better have your facts together before using the "L" word.


by dave969 - 2008-07-11 05:07:54

Just an update that certain leads for the ICD
have been recalled and Medtronics has stopped using them.
But if you have one that has fractured it can give shocks that are not required.
I have had two shocks about 6 months ago and now have been informed that the leads need to be removed.
I also agree that you need to seek another Doctor who will answer your questions.


by ElectricFrank - 2008-07-13 01:07:12

I agree with you and reserve that approach as a way to get results when all else fails. When it reaches the point where a patient is being put off by the doctor after reporting losses of consciousness with an ICD the L word is justified. It is a way of putting the doctor on notice that it is time to do something or refer. It gives the doc a chance to correct the situation before it becomes a real problem for him/her.
By the way there is no requirement to have evidence before initiating a law suite. The evidence phase comes afterwards.


Sorry, Frank, that's not the law

by ted - 2008-07-14 04:07:05

If you think that you can just go ahead and file a lawsuit and then go and develop the evidence later, you should know a few things first or you will lose your house, bank accounts and other assets.
I could be wrong, but I have been a trial lawyer in California for fifty years both suing and representing doctors.
In my state, you have to have an opinion letter or report from another doctor stating why your doctor was negligent, before filing suit. In many other states, and in the Federal courts, the filing of a lawsuit constitutes a representation by the lawyer that he/she has investigated the facts and that good cause exists for the lawsuit.
While is is true that many more facts are learned through "discovery" after filing, you had better have enough facts and evidence to make a case for negligence BEFORE you file a lawsuit, because if you are wrong and you lose, you, and your lawyer are likely to be sued for "malicious prosection" for which punitive damages may be awarded. (not discharable in bankruptcy).
A lawyer would be crazy to just go ahead and sue someone without first having sufficient facts and evidence to justify the filing of the suit. All I can say is don't shoot first without being sure that you can hit the target, because if you miss, you and your family might be out in the street.


by ElectricFrank - 2008-07-14 10:07:29

I think I see where we are missing it. I won't argue with your interpretation of the law. I respect your background as a trial lawyer.
I realize what I am doing when I mention lawsuit or legal action in a doctors office is to let them know I am a person who will contact someone like yourself and explore the option. This is opposed to the usual patient who will just grumble and eat it.

In one sense I feel like I am giving the doc a heads up opportunity to correct the situation in a friendly way.

thanks for the interchange,


Hi Frank

by ted - 2008-07-15 03:07:11

I want to tell you how much I have learned from your posts. I agree with your thoughts about uncaring doctors. Some are so insensitive that they need to be shocked into realizing that patients have feelings. Whatever works to accomplish the awakening is OK with me. Keep up the great work. Ted

Getting back to Cissie

by fireryan - 2008-07-15 12:07:53


I believe having symptoms prior to getting "therapy" aka being shocked is a tell tale sign of the device doing its job. Everytime for me it has been the case. The drug therapy is the first line defense. I was getting shocked average of once a month, then during medication trials my Doc stopped me suddenly off my beta blocker.
2 days later I was shocked 28 times in 14 min. No drugs, no conversion (no heart reset). I didn't convert until EMS gave me Lidocane IV.
If your husband is receiving shocks that are appropriate, then the drugs are failing to do thier job. Try to get another doctors opinion and do your own research in the meantime. Google antiarrhythmics and beta blockers for SVT.

Take care and God Bless your husband!


You know you're wired when...

Muggers want your ICD, not your wallet.

Member Quotes

The pacer systems are really very reliable. The main problem is the incompetent programming of them. If yours is working well for you, get on with life and enjoy it. You probably are more at risk of problems with a valve job than the pacer.