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What can we expect after defibrillator surgery?

10 answers | Last updated: Jul 14, 2015
Nefer asked...

My husband was diagnosed with congestive heart failure on Tuesday. His heart is working at 15% and they are going to install a defibrillator tomorrow and put him on lasiks. He is 42 years old.What the hell can I expect?


Carolyn Strimike, N.P. and Margie Latrella, N.P. are cardiac nurse practitioners specializing in the prevention of heart disease and stroke. They have over 40...
24% helpful

First of all we hope everything goes well with the defibrillator procedure. The implantable defibrillator is used to deliver a shock to the heart when a life threatening irregular heart See also:
What does "end stage" congestive heart failure mean for my mother?

See all 52 questions about Congestive Heart Failure
rhythm is detected. We have taken care of many people who have had these devices for years and have done well, it is a life saving device. The defibrillator procedure is relatively common in people with weak heart muscle. Some people have the device for years and they never fire other people have the device deliver a shock several times a year. Lasix is a diuretic or "water pill" which helps people with weak heart muscle eliminate excess water or fluid from their bodies. By preventing excess fluid retention this should help your husband's breathing, prevent weight gain (from excess fluid) and prevent edema (swelling of the feet and ankles). We would recommend that you check your local hospital or local American Heart Association chapter for heart failure and/or implantable defibrillator support groups. Also you can visit the American Heart Association website or http://www.abouthf.org/ they have alot of information about living with heart failure. Symptoms of weakened heart muscle can be controlled with medications, salt and fluid restrictions. Also make a list of specific questions for your husband's cardiologist and discuss them at your next visit.


More Answers
23% helpful
yoginimary answered...

Hi Nefer - Know that you are not alone!!!! and recovery is all about your & your partners state of mind. You can expect him to be very tired and he may experience depression once he gets home. Your job is to let him know that it's OK....rest, retreat and re-group - when he is ready talk about what lead up to the incident and learn to make small changes. I suggest a massage/spa day/yoga for you and lots of TLC and Cardiac Rehab for him. Care givers have a tough row to hoe. Support groups abound and now is the time to get healthy.

I had an ICD-Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator "installed" 90 days ago. My Ejection Fraction was @ 10% before I underwent Cardiac Rehab. Now I am at 61% with no pacing by the ICD - it's all me and I have NO lasting damage to my heart muscle. I have no CAD-Coronary Artery Disease, Diabetes or High Blood Pressure so I was very shocked that CHF took me down due to stress and anxiety. Stress can kill even us young ones. (Im 51)

Good Luck and may you have much love in your life all ways... Yoginimary


Gramma Pat answered...

Sorry to hear about the situation your family is experiencing. He is so young. Relative to the experience of having an implantable defribrillator, my husband had one (with a pacemaker) inserted several years ago. He was in his 70's at the time. The surgery itself was no problem. I am assuming that it is being done by an electrocardiologist. Find out how many he/she has done. Find out how many have been done at the hospital. Also find out which manufacturer's unit they plan to use and check it out on the internet to see if that company has had any problems in the past. Experience is important. All surgeries have risks and you want the best people doing them. I think, for a younger man, the big lump on the chest from the unit might be the most daunting. However, weighing the risk to benefit ratio (at least at this point in time) is probably the most significant factor. Without this unit my husband might have died. It has gone off a few times = nothing that required hospitalization...but enough that signalled to him that there had been an event. Good luck to you and your husband. All the folks on this venue who have read your post pray for the best result.


78% helpful
LOVINGWIFE74 answered...

Like your husband, mine is also 42. He had an Aicd implant back in 2006 and his ejection fraction was 25% then. Now 4 years later his ejection fraction is down to 15%. He has Congestive Heart Failure and severe Ischemic Cardiomiopathy. He also has Hemachromatosis. We have seen many doctors and one thing they all agree on is his Life expectancy is not good. I Thank God each day i have him. I used to cry all of the time and worry myself sick over it. Now I just try to care for him the best I know how and always remain positive, i have found the more I worry and fret the worse it is for him. By me staying positive , it makes it easier for him to stay positive. My advice to you is be Thankful for today, be hopeful for Tomorrow and just love him the best you know how for as long as you have him. Worrying ourselves sick will not make them better, it will only make us ill ourselves and less able to fully care for our Loved ones!

sincirely, Loving Wife


60% helpful
SueCash answered...

My husband was also diagnosed with congestive heart failure when he was 41. Our children were 5 and 2. He had no risk factors--lifelong nonsmoker, no high blood pressure, no high cholesterol, completely clear arteries according to the subsequent heart catheterization. His cardiologist said the cause was most likely a virus. The good news is that with his meds (Accupril, Coumadin, Demadex, Lanoxin, and Lopressor, plus potassium) and regular monitoring by his internist and cardiologist, he has now lived to 58. His ejection fraction is below 20%, but he is able to work (not physically strenuous). He walks regularly, but does not run, in part because the meds keep his heart rate slow. He had a defibrillator implanted 3 years ago. The surgery was simple, but it took some adjustment to get the settings right. His defibrillator went off a couple of times (he said it felt like a baseball bat to the chest) before the correct adjustments were made. Good luck to you.


supporter2012 answered...

hello to all... im more new to this but on 02-09-2012 my mother @ the age of 39 was just in surgery due to heart problems. Im the oldest of two with no help of how this goes. please keep our family in your prays and we will do the same for yours.



Jhawthorne answered...

My husband is 41 and he has chf. We are in the process of getting a defribrillator within the next week. In August his ejection fraction was 10-15, now it is 29. The doctor's say that it is very serious. I trust God but I am scared to death. Please pray for us and I will be praying for you all.


meka521 answered...

Hi Loving Hearts. I'm 35 years old diagnosed with CHF and Hypertrophicardiomyopaty. I underwent open heart surgery and Defribilator implantation 5 years ago at age 29. It was very scary due to being a young mother (son was 3) and wife. I knew had had to continue working but suffer from so many health issues it is hard with the continue denial from disability. Prayer and family support guide me daily with also staying on top of medications and changes in stress level.


cinmax answered...

Hi Nefer, My husband has had the pacemaker with defibrillator in for several years. It is a day surgery procedure and he will be tired for the remainder of the day and into the next, my husband made us stop and do some shopping on the way home, he was fine! Good luck..don't panic and all will be well.