Pre-Op anxiety and what to expect after ?

Hi Guys, 

I'm 27 years old and am due to have an ICD fitted in 48 hours. My anxiety levels are through the roof and made worse by the fact my farther passed away from the same condition at a young age. 

Does anyone have any advice for how to deal with this anxiety, perhaps subject focused books, videos etc ? 

Additional does anyone have any recommendations for the recovery period. I'm very active and would like to be out walking and perhaps on an exercise bike in 2 weeks. is this realistic ? 


Thanks in advance.


My two cents :)

by lildanishgirl - 2019-07-16 12:58:51

Hi Piggers365,

I'm 33 and just got my ICD implanted 7 months ago. I had a sudden cardiac arrest back in December - completely out of the blue! So you can imagine, I had a lot of anxiety too! I live in Canada and found out that my EP (at the hospital) was able to refer me to a Psychologist (who specializes in patients with heart disease), free of charge! Maybe check with your doctor to see what resources are available to you where you live? This option wasn't openly offered to me at first - I actually found out after some of my own research! Seeing the psychologist once a week for a couple months helped me tremendously!!! I still have some anxiety now but definitely not as much as I used to! That being said, I don't think my "recovery" was solely due to the therapy. In my opinion, adjusting to life with an ICD just takes a bit of time. It's going to be scary and overwhelming at the beginning but it gets better, I promise! I just keep reminding myself that as much as it sucks (sometimes), it's there to keep me safe! Try reminding yourself the same thing :) I have my very own special paramedic in my chest now who will follow me around wherever I go! I got frustrated at the beginning when I was sore, etc. but with daily stretches, everything has healed really good and once I hit the 6 month mark, I hardly ever thought about it. The surgery itself is not bad at all - so don't worry!

I don't have any books or videos to recommend, but the methodology that my therapist followed was: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Maybe try searching it on the internet?

Regarding the recovery period and exercise - I would follow what your doctor says. I definitely think you could be out walking after 2 weeks (most likely before) - I would actually recommend it!

PM me if you have any other questions :) Just breath - everything will be OK!

My one cent

by Cheryl B - 2019-07-17 00:42:56

This was out of the blue for me also.  But I am on my second ICD, having been introduced to the wonderful world of pacemakers in 2010.  I kept telling people I could drop down dead at any moment, so stay away from me.  I was a basket case, no doubt.  But actually the most wonderful thing happened.  I met people here on this site.  My sister signed me up when I was still in the hospital recovering from surgery.  I was angry with her for interfering, but so happy she did.  These people here have helped me with everything from anxiety, why me syndrome, what next, this sucks, this hurts, can I play with dolphins, can I use a microwave, to oh, hey, I just realized for the first time I forgot I had a bump on my chest and a machine in my body.  It gets better.  It really does.  Yes, you will be able to do things you did before the ICD.  BUT NO ARC WELDING.   LOL.  At least that's what they tell me.  Just post your questions, your concerns, and someone will post back their comments, which ALWAYS will help.  Stay positive.  There is a change coming, and it's a good one.

Cheryl B.


by Piggers365 - 2019-07-17 05:01:50

Thanks all, Your combined Three Cent has helped alot :) 


by AgentX86 - 2019-07-17 10:34:35

I wasn't allowed to go to the gym, even though all I do is treadmill, for a month. However, I was back walking 10mi (normal, including treadmill is 20) a day the third day. For the first week I wore a sling to support the shoulder  but only while walking.

The short answer is "ask your EP" and then do what you feel up to doing within your EP's constraints.

talking it through helps

by Uelrindru - 2019-07-21 18:24:57

Honestly, I went through my mom getting a pacemaker before my heartattack and they made me get one because of a vfib Incident. My preop concerns were minimal but I was a wreck after the surgery.

This site helped me immensely with my mental recovery. Talking to people that went through what I have was the best thing for me. My physical recovery was slower than yours likely will be but thanks to cardiac rehab I was 80% back in about a month and now I'd say I'm 95% there now.

You'll have freak outs over normal stuff, strange sensations you've never felt but the thing is your doctor is gonna tell you if something is really wrong and as you talk through the anxieties they mostly go away. I still get anxious going through those loss prevention archways to this day in certain places where I can see them

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The pacer systems are really very reliable. The main problem is the incompetent programming of them. If yours is working well for you, get on with life and enjoy it. You probably are more at risk of problems with a valve job than the pacer.