ICD swelling and numbness

I've had my ICD for 6 weeks now and my left arm is constantly swelling as well as my hand which leaves it feeling numb and tingling. Has anyone else experienced this?


5 Comments

not normal

by Tracey_E - 2020-05-13 09:49:22

You need to be seen. I'm no doctor so won't hazard a guess what it is, but it's absolutely not normal. 

Me Too!

by heartu - 2020-05-13 16:43:56

I had my crt-d implanted on 1/28/2020. As soon as I was awake after surgery I told the nurse that my hand looked swollen and felt numb. Doctor said it was normal. 1 week wound check , showed my arm to the nurse practioner who did not see the swelling I saw, though it was apparent when I compared both arms. I did get  an ultrasound to make  sure I had no blood clots.

Complained again after another week and was told by the doctor that it is normal and should resolve within 6 to 8 weeks. Had an in office appointment to do final programming after 7 weeks in March and when I showed him the arm, he said it was due to vein narrowing and could take months to resolve. I did get a referral for PT which I am currently doing (lucky that I can go in person) since my entire arm is weak (not as bad as 4 weeks ago) and I cannot bend my fingers very much. My hand still swells up (though this week with increased activity it has, but not as much and it seems to have affected the thumb, index, and middle finger the most. Ring finger just a bit, and not the pinky. If this does not fully resolve he said that he would refer me to a vascular surgeon.

And because of the pandemic, it is virtually impossible to see specialists unless it is urgent.

I was also told that if the entire arm is affected it may be vein occlusion. Mine is mostly the forearm and hand, though the foream has vastly improved. PT said that makes sense, since proxal (forearm) will resolve more quickly than distal (hand/fingers).

But I would recommend that you do call your doctor and get an ultrasound at least for peace of mind.

Let the Dr know!

by ckn - 2020-05-13 18:29:13

I don't want to freak you out, but it's important that if you're having these symptoms you notify your Doctor so they can make sure that you don't have a complication such as a blood clot. I am dealing with this right now, and unfortunately in my case it has been diagnosed as a clot. I got my pacemaker 8 weeks ago, and a few days ago I started noticing swelling in my left arm and my arm was more red, and a bit tingly. After speaking to my pacemaker nurse on the phone, I went to the ER as instructed. I had an arm ultrasound which found a clot in my arm. I'm now on blood thinners, and they think that this should resolve completely with the medication and time, but I'll need to be monitored. The risk is that the clot could break off and move to your brain or heart which could cause a heart attack or stroke, so I'm definitely happy I got this diagnosed and am being treated. Good luck and I hope in your case you don't have any serious issues!

Left Arm Swelling

by CyborgMike - 2020-05-14 23:41:54

When I got my ICD my left arm hurt a lot and swelled up significantly in the days following surgery -- my fingers were like sausages around my wedding ring. I was told that this was normal, because they cut one of the veins going from the arm to the heart, used it to route the PM leads, and sealed off the arm side of the vein. Veins return blood, so in plumbing terms, there was more artery and pressure going into the arm than coming out, hence the swelling. I was told it takes the body time to rebuild the veins and/or open up the other veins, but eventually the arm goes back to normal. In my case the swelling was the worse in the first few days and gradually went down over a week or two and was fully healed by 6-8 weeks. I don't think it is normal for it to continue to swell or swell up unexpectently after the first few weeks or last for months. You should let the doctors know, as that sounds unusual.

ICD swelling

by Freespirit - 2020-05-14 23:48:20

I saw cardiologist who did an ultrasound. Many nerves veins and an artery were punctured during surgery so ya the surgery was a success in the lead placements but the insides of me have been torn apart and will take quite awhile to heal -.- he is also concerned I may have cardiomyopathy....... when they made the incision to put the catheter and leads through the subclavian vein they hit an artery as my subclavian vein was not in the usual spot this caused complications. My ICD is placed very high and almost under my armpit because that was the only place they had to put it instead of further down like most patients. It was a. Or he'd hell of a surgery the local did nothing I felt everything as I am already on hydromorphone and oxycocets daily they should have judged a higher dose of fentanyl as my body already had a tolerance so that was misjudged and why I felt the whole surgery. Now the concern is the blood is flowing out of my right ventricle even slower than it did before which makes the heart work harder. Just my luck -.- thank you for all the responses.

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