It is important to let other people who may be involved in your health care know about your device. Also and more importantly, always carry your ID card for your defibrillator implant and keep it in your wallet or in something you carry with you regularly.
If you are ever incapacitated for any reason, this card will let trained health professionals identify appropriate treatment for you that will not interfere with your ICD and current cardiac condition.
Most common household electrical devices do not interfere with an ICD, but err on the side of caution and prevent unnecessary exposure to such devices. Devices that use magnetic fields to operate are of particular concern. In general, magnets and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines should be avoided. If receiving an MRI is contingent upon necessary medical reasons/concerns then consult with your cardiologist to plan the best course of action. Getting an MRI can be done if you have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator; however, extra monitoring of the device’s functions will be needed. When traveling by air, alert airport staff about your ICD and avoid being scanned by manual metal detectors. You should get into the habit of using your cellphone on the opposite side (usually left side of your body) of your implant as this reduces interference with the device.
Receiving heat therapy, or diathermy, can cause complications to your defibrillator implant due to electromagnetic radiation from dielectric material. Try to avoid large motors and heavy machinery if you have a defibrillator implant. Exposing your implantable cardioverter defibrillator to this type of equipment can interfere with the devices functioning due to certain machinery’s high energy output. Clinical testing concluded that some high-current machinery such as arc welders, smelting furnaces, and other similar industrial equipment can interfere with pacemakers. Therefore, the same precautions should be taken by someone that has a defibrillator implant, which is to avoid this type of electrical machinery at all times. Electromagnetic interference from electric power transmissions, like those found in high tension wires, can also interfere with defibrillator implants. Try to avoid close proximity of anything that emits electromagnetic radiation.
Always let a doctor know about your ICD, especially when receiving surgery for reasons unrelated to your cardiac condition. Regardless of the procedure, whenever you receive surgery the performing surgeon and relevant staff should be aware of your cardiac health. There are some medial procedures which may affect the functioning of a defibrillator implant; including extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy (ESWL): a procedure that dissolves kidney stones; radiofrequency ablation: a procedure that uses radio waves (RF energy) to control and eliminate cardiac arrhythmias; transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS or TeNS): a device that uses electrical current to relieve acute or chronic pain.
Some components of therapeutic radiation treatments for cancer can interfere with an implanted cardioverter defibrillator; this includes radioactive cobalt, linear accelerators, radioactive seeds, and betatrons. If you are a cancer patient and have a defibrillator implant, talk with your oncologist and cardiologist about the best plan of action for therapy. Shielding efforts may be taken to minimize the exposure of your defibrillator implant to radioactive elements of your therapy. Some factors that will be considered by your oncologist and cardiologist that may impact your implant will include where your device is located in comparison to your treatment area for radiation therapy, the type and energy of radiation, dosage and rate of dosage, subsequent therapies, and more.