Preparing for a Cardioverter Defibrillator Implantation

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator is an electronic device designed to stop rapid, abnormal heart rhythms. If your heart has ever stopped (cardiac arrest) or you've had rapid, abnormal heart rhythms (life-threatening arrhythmias) that cannot be controlled by drugs or other approaches, you may be given this device.

Before Cardioverter Defibrillator Implantation

  • Do not eat or drink anything for six to eight hours before surgery.
  • Your nurses will give you a betadine bath the night or early morning before surgery.
  • Empty your bladder before going to surgery or the Cardiovascular Intervention Center.
  • Wear a hospital gown.
  • An intravenous (IV) line (a needle attached to a tube) will be inserted into your arm in your room before surgery. This lets your surgical team inject drugs or fluids directly into this line as needed during surgery.
  • Often a relaxing drug is given to you before you leave your room or in the pre-op area.

After Cardioverter Defibrillator Implantation

  • You may be taken to a monitored (telemetry) care area or the intensive care unit (ICU) overnight where your heart and breathing can be monitored.
  • Nurses will check your vital signs often.
  • You may have pain near where the defibrillator was inserted. If so, ask your nurse for something to relieve the pain.

Your implantable cardioverter defibrillator may need to be checked before you go home from Cedars-Sinai. The device will be checked again every few months by your doctor. At that time, several tests will be done that do not involve invasive procedures.