Understanding A Defibrillator Implant

March 18, 2008 by  

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By Mark Glazer

A defibrillator implant is a tiny device that’s placed in a person’s heart to detect abnormal heartbeats. When a person’s heart beats too quickly or starts to beat erratically, this electronic device sends a power boost to the heart. The energy gives the heart muscle enough strength to get back on track.

Of course we’re not born with a defibrillator. To get a defibrillator implant you have to undergo a two-to-five hour surgery. Generally those who get defibrillator implants have also had heart attacks. For example, Vice President Dick Cheney had a defibrillator placed in his chest after he had a heart attack.

How Does It Work?

A defibrillator implant works like a tiny little computer. Instead of storing articles and financial programs, a defibrillator implant records heartbeats. When it detects and abnormal heartbeat, it kicks in.

Defibrillator implants are made up of two parts, the lead and the generator. The lead checks the heart rhythms and carries energy to the heart when fast or irregular rhythms are detected. The generator is the brains behind the lead. It decides what to do with the rhythms. When it detects irregular beats, it sends the energy through the leads. The “energy” is a battery that’s housed in the generator.

Preparing for a Defibrillator

During your lifetime, you or someone you love might have to get a defibrillator. Getting a defibrillator implant is serious. It’s a surgical procedure that requires a patient to be put under. Many of these surgeries are successful and many defibrillator recipients go on to lead long, healthy lives, but you should discuss this decision with your doctor and family.

If you decide to go ahead with the surgery, prepare yourself to stay in the hospital for a few days. The length of your stay will depend on how well your surgery went, what type of surgery you had and your overall health. After the surgery, you’ll be given a series of tests including blood tests and an EKG. The device itself will also be tested and programmed and your doctor will give you a chest x-ray to make sure the defibrillator is in correctly.

Even though defibrillator implant patients have to stay in the hospital for a few days, they can return to their normal lives fairly quickly after they’re released. It’s recommended that these patients don’t lift anything that’s more than 20 pounds until they’re fully recovered. They’re also not supposed to take a shower for five days. This is a precautionary measure to protect the chest wound.

Staying on Your Toes

Defibrillator implants aren’t perfect and they can malfunction. Unfortunately, there isn’t a 100 percent guarantee that a defibrillator implant is going to work. However, there are some things defibrillator recipients can do to minimize the chance of a malfunction.

Those with defibrillator implants should stay away from electrical devices that have large magnetic fields. This includes certain industrial equipment, power plants and magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs). Though you’ll be OK around a microwave, you should keep cell phones at least six inches away from the device.

Make sure to take care of your defibrillator implant. After all, the whole point of having a defibrillator implant is to increase the quality and longevity of your life.

Facing the prospect of an internal defibrillator? Learn what you need to know about a defibrillator implant online at www.defibinfo.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mark_Glazer

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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