Subcutaneous ICD (SICD) Discharge Instructions

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You will need a 2 week follow-up appointment with our device specialist to evaluate your surgical wound healing process. Call 480-246-3000 to schedule this appointment if one was not made for you at the time of your discharge from the hospital. Remote monitoring of your device will be discussed at this visit.

After the initial appointment you will have an important in office appointment in 3 months for a defibrillator check.

Home Care for Your Incisions Site:
Proper care of postoperative incisions will greatly enhance the healing process.

Taking care of your wound:
  • Remove only the large dressing over the ICD 48 hours after surgery if dressing was not removed in the hospital.
  • DO NOT remove Steri strips, the surgical tape that is taped directly on your skin over the incision. We will remove them at your 2 week follow-up appointment.
  • Shower as usual 48 hours after implantation.
  • Don’t scrub the incision area, just wash gently with soap, rinse and pat dry with a clean towel (do not rub).
  • Do not submerge your wound in a bathtub, swimming pool or Jacuzzi for 6 weeks.
  • Some discomfort such as mild redness, itching and swelling may occur. These symptoms are part of the normal healing process. Don’t scratch the wound if it starts to itch.
  • Avoid tight clothing over incision/pocket site.
  • Protect your incision area from excessive sunlight. Do NOT apply any type of lotion or cream to the site.

Signs of Infection/Problem:
  • Significant redness, heat, swelling or severe pain.
  • Fever of 100 degrees or higher.
  • White, yellow, or greenish discharge from the wound or significant bleeding.
  • Opening of the wound.
  • Increasing discomfort related to the wound.

  • Continue to take medications unless told otherwise at discharge.
  • Exercise per physician's orders.
  • Take home your ICD booklet and read at home.
  • Call if you experience any dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting or any questions related to your ICD.

  • Lift, push or pull over 10lbs.
  • Raise your arm (on defibrillator side) above shoulder level until your 2 week follow-up (this includes golfing and tennis).
  • Don't have an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).

  • Magnets can affect your ICD. Please read enclosed materials and discuss with your physician if necessary.
  • Call 911 if you experience 2 or more shocks in a 24-hour period OR if you receive a shock and do not feel well.
  • Obtain a medical alert ID bracelet or necklace at a pharmacy.
  • Always tell doctors and dentists treating you that you have an ICD.
  • Don’t put a cell phone in your shirt pocket near your ICD.
  • In the event of an emergency, paramedics should treat you like they would treat any other patient. Your family should also be aware of this.

Common Questions

Can I drive after ICD implant?

Commercial driving
Recommendations are most clear for commercial driving: it is permanently prohibited, whatever the clinical circumstances leading to ICD therapy

Noncommercial driving
ICD patients who have not had symptomatic ventricular dysrhythmias can resume driving after 1 to 2 weeks, much like patients who receive pacemakers. The guidelines regarding driving are (and should be) less restrictive for patients who have received an ICD but have never had an episode of arrhythmia affecting consciousness.

ICD patients who have had nonsustained (short episodes which resolve within seconds) symptomatic arrhythmias should not drive for 3 months after implantation.

Patients who received an ICD after an episode of sustained symptomatic ventricular dysrhythmias should not drive for at least 6 months.

Episodes restart the clock. Anytime after the initial driving restriction that the patient experiences another episode of ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation that triggers the ICD, the "clock starts over," and the patient should abstain from driving for 6 months-long enough to adjust the medical therapy and to judge whether the new regimen is adequate.

Thus, because driving status can change on the basis of the frequency of arrhythmias and their symptomatic consequences, it is recommended you talk to your doctor regarding specific instructions for driving.


You should pull off the road in a safe manner and when it is appropriate. If your symptoms persist, you should go to the hospital. You may call 911 or have someone else drive you. If the symptoms subside, you should speak with your physician and discontinue driving until you can be evaluated.