Penn Heart and Vascular

Pacemaker & ICD Implant Procedures at the Cardiac Arrhythmia Program

What to Expect Pacemaker & ICD Implant Procedures

This information is designed to provide you with an overview of what to expect before, during and after your device implant procedure. It should serve only as a guide, as treatment will vary for each patient. A nurse will review specific instructions with you before your procedure.

Pacemaker and ICD Implants: The Night Before Your Procedure

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure, except sips of water with medication.

A member of our staff will contact you at home the day before your appointment to discuss preparation for your procedure. It is important that you follow all instructions.

You will be asked the following questions, some of which may be repetitive, but help to ensure your safety:

  • What medications are you taking? If not known, be sure to bring all of them with you to the hospital.
  • Are you diabetic? If so, are you on insulin?
  • Do you have any allergies, particularly to contrast media, latex or shellfish? This includes contrast dyes used in various X-rays.
  • Have you had a blood test? If so, when and where?
Pacemaker Implant: The Day of Your Procedure
Before the Procedure
  • Blood work may need to be checked the day of your procedure.
  • An intravenous (IV) line will be placed.
During the Procedure
  • You may be asked to remove your dentures.
  • A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm and EKG patches on your skin to monitor your heartbeat throughout the procedure.
  • Oxygen may be administered; an oxygen probe will be placed on your finger to monitor your breathing.
  • Your procedure sites will be prepped and cleansed with an antibacterial agent.
  • You will be covered from chin to toe with sterile sheets.
  • A small incision will be made in the shoulder area to place your pacemaker.
  • Be sure to report any pain or discomfort to your nurse.
  • You will be required to lie still during your procedure.
After the Procedure
  • IV and heart monitor will be removed.
  • Your right or left arm will be in a sling for 24 hours. Full upper body motion should be restricted for one to six weeks, depending on your physician. Do not lift or pick up anything greater than five pounds for approximately six weeks.
  • Be sure to report any pain or swelling at the device insertion site to your nurse.
Internal Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) Implant: The Day of Your Procedure
Before the Procedure
  • Blood work may need to be checked the day of your procedure.
  • An IV line will be placed.
During the Procedure
  • Medication may be administered to relax you during the implant. You will receive an antibiotic. An anesthetist may also be present.
  • You may be asked to remove your dentures.
  • A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm and EKG patches on your skin to monitor your heartbeat throughout the procedure.
  • Oxygen may be administered; an oxygen probe will be placed on your finger to monitor your breathing.
  • Your procedure sites will be prepped and cleansed with an antibacterial agent.
  • You will be covered from chin to toe with sterile sheets.
  • A small incision will be made in the shoulder area to place your ICD.
  • Be sure to report any pain or discomfort to your nurse.
  • You will be required to lie still during your procedure.
  • Your physician may choose to test your ICD during the procedure. You will be given general anesthesia so you will not be awake during the test.
After the Procedure
  • IV and heart monitor will be removed.
  • Your right or left arm will be in a sling for 24 hours. Full upper body motion should be restricted for one to six weeks, depending on your physician. Do not lift or pick up anything greater than five pounds for approximately six weeks. Additional restrictions may apply for individual cases.
  • Be sure to report any pain or swelling at the device insertion site to your nurse.
  • Keep the wound dry as instructed by your doctor.
  • Do not remove the dressing or steri-strips unless instructed by your doctor.

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