Replace defibrillators and pacemakers with heart medication

Change of aggregate after implantation of an automatic defibrillator (AICD)

Important NOTE:
The description of the interventions was compiled with the greatest care. However, it can only be an overview and does not claim to be complete. The websites of the service providers and the personal consultation with the doctor or the surgical explanation in the respective operating facility provide further information.
The persons responsible for the content of this website do not guarantee the completeness and correctness of the information, as constant changes, further developments and specifications are made as a result of scientific research or adaptation of the guidelines by the medical societies.

Here you will find:

An automatic implantable defibrillator (AICD) can save lives for patients with rapid arrhythmias such as ventricular flutter and ventricular fibrillation. The aggregate (matchbox size) located under the skin is connected to the heart via electrodes, continuously records the heart's actions and, if necessary, terminates the life-threatening rhythm disturbance with a powerful electric shock.
The defibrillator needs a relatively large amount of electricity to operate. The entire unit including the battery must therefore be replaced every three to five years. This requires a small intervention that can be carried out on an outpatient basis.

What happens during this procedure?

After anesthesia and disinfection of the operating area below the left collarbone, a small skin incision is made in the area of ​​the device. The electrodes connected to the heart are unplugged and the old device removed. The position of the electrodes in the heart is not changed. A new device is inserted into the skin pocket and reconnected to the electrodes.
This is followed by a function test: This artificially triggers a rhythm disturbance of the heart, which the defibrillator must correctly recognize and treat according to its programming. Only when everything works is the skin sutured over the device and given a bandage.

When does the doctor advise you to have this procedure?

It is always necessary to change the unit if routine check-ups reveal that the power supply is running low.

Which stunning method is usually used?

The unit can usually be changed under local anesthesia. (Reference: local anesthesia)

How long does the procedure take on average?

The procedure takes a few minutes.

Who may not be suitable for this procedure?

The procedure is required at regular intervals in all patients with AICD because the device cannot function without electricity.

How is the risk to be assessed?

Changing the AICD unit is a low-risk procedure. As with any surgical procedure, however, risks cannot be completely ruled out. Your doctor will explain to you in detail about rare complications such as wound infections or wound healing disorders before the procedure.

What do you have to consider before the procedure?

If you regularly take medication for other illnesses, you should inform your doctor in advance, as some medications such as blood-thinning substances should be discontinued a few days before the procedure.

What happens after the procedure and what should be considered?

Even after the outpatient AICD unit change, you will remain under observation for some time after the procedure - until you feel fit to go home. Once you have been given sedative medication, it may take some time to clear your head again. You are therefore not allowed to drive your own car on the day of the operation and you should also not use public transport on your own. Have family or friends pick you up or take a taxi home.

Any slight pain in the wound can be treated with a commercially available painkiller from the pharmacy.

When does the next doctor's appointment usually take place?

Just a few days after the operation, the doctor will order you to go to the practice for a check-up. In your own interest, you should absolutely keep this appointment. The doctor will check the wound, pull the sutures if necessary and check that the defibrillator is working properly.

If you get a fever or severe pain at home, or if you notice reddening or other signs of inflammation on the wound, you should contact your doctor immediately. Even if you are unsure and still have questions about the normal course of healing, in practice no one will be angry with you if you call for advice.