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What To Expect After Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Surgery

Expect to stay in the hospital 1–2 days after implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) surgery. This allows your health care team to check your heartbeat and make sure your ICD is working well.

You'll need to arrange for a ride home from the hospital because you won't be able to drive for at least a week while you recover from the surgery.

For a few days to weeks after the surgery, you may have pain, swelling, or tenderness in the area where your ICD was placed. The pain usually is mild, and over-the-counter medicines can help relieve it. Talk to your doctor before taking any pain medicines.

Your doctor may ask you to avoid high-impact activities and heavy lifting for about a month after ICD surgery. Most people return to their normal activities within a few days of having the surgery.

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November 09, 2011 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.