Confused on recovery time

Hi everyone. I had my ICD implant on May 28. Things are going well. But my discharge instructions from my doctor say not to raise my left arm above my shoulder for 2 weeks. After that time, normal activities except no golf or tennis for one month. These instructions appear to be a much faster recovery time than what I am reading on this site. I plan on golfing in a tournament on June 26. Have any of you pursued such a rapid recovery priod without adverse consequences? I'm 57 and in good shape. Thanks, Rick.


I'd wait

by coryi711 - 2008-06-05 06:06:15

My Electo. Doc. said to wait 6 - 8 weeks before trying to swing arm as in golf or swimming. All I know is I waited, I did some lite putting & chipping practice at about 4 - 5 weeks , what's a couple more weeks, it beats the alternative of having to be OPENED up to reset your wires. Or having to fix a torn pocket..

recovery time

by HelenB - 2008-06-05 06:06:20

Hi Rick,

The information I was sent home with after my implant (May 13) says to wait 4 weeks before lifting my arm above my head or lifting anything above 10 pounds.

My uncle received his ICD on April 22. When he asked about golfing, the doctor said to wait at least 3 months.

That's just what I've been told, though, and I know that others on this site have had different recovery times. I'm not sure what the "official" rule is.

Take care,

Recovery period

by Swedeheart - 2008-06-05 06:06:20


I am at day 102 since implant and I asked a similar question about raising my arm. My instructions were for 4 weeks no lifting above my shoulder and no lifting over 5 pounds. (I am a 60 year old woman) Many folks on this site suggested I wait for a total of 8 weeks. I did, and I am glad! I used my arm "normally" except for raising it above my shoulder and lifting. Now I am not in fear of my leads pulling out or my leads or PM migrating. I have read many scary episodes of folks having to go back into surgery because they were anxious to get back at it!

I would double check with your doctor, but you might also check some of the excellent websites and read their recommendations. Only you can determine what you are willing to risk. I prefer to err on the side of caution. If it were me, I wouldn't play golf yet.

The big risk is your leads... they aren't firmly set.

Good luck!


Websites I trust:

recovery time & golf

by ccmoore - 2008-06-05 06:06:51

My PM was installed on May 17.

The factory rep who adjusted my PM a week later told me wait 3 months before playing golf but remember, he is trying to protect his product and company.

I am 62 and love golf. It is killing me not to play. I have a golf tournament scheduled for mid Aug, which would be right at the end of the 3 months. This is a bunch of friends tournament in Reno that I have played in for 20+ years. I pulled out of the tournament thinking better safe than sorry. There will be another tournament next year and I don't want another operation in 3 months. I will still be at the tournament to visit and socialize with friends and get a couple of bets down.

I don't think that there is a hard and fast rule, remember the art of doctoring is called a 'practice'. I am waiting a good 3 months and would recommend the same.


Waiting Time

by SMITTY - 2008-06-05 08:06:27

Hey Rick,

I think you have received some good advice on waiting time before playing golf from some folks that have pacemakers. I can only say amen to what they have told you as I waited three months before doing any more than a little chipping and putting. However, I don't mean to say your doctor is giving you bad advice. He implanted your PM and knows about your particular situation than anyone.

Before going further, let me say I was 14 years older than you when I got my PM in 2000. The difference in our age and the advances in PM and implant procedures could very well account for the much shorter time you have been given before playing golf. I will pass on what my EP told me about my implant and why I should wait for three months. The PM leads which are just a little larger than this . and go from your PM through a big vein that is located right behind your PM. Those leads are attached to the top of the PM then a very short distance from there goes through small holes into that vein. They are sutured to the vein at that point, then travel in the vein full of blood to the heart chambers. One lead stops in the atrium and one travels through the mitral valve opening where it terminates in the ventricle. (All of this is assuming you have a two lead PM as I do.) The leads are "attached" to the heart walls by either a corkscrew like tip or by a barb like tip. The tip type you have depends on the lead manufacturer and your doctor.

After being in place for some amount of time those lead tips become more or less permanently attached to the heart walls. In fact during my last doctor visit on 5-12-08 he mentioned replacing my ventricle lead because its resistance to the PM electrical impulse has increased. Since my leads have been place for eight years, he talks about probably having to use a laser to free up that lead. It is mainly the thought of having a laser at work inside my heart that makes me resist lead replacement until absolutely necessary.

What I'm really getting at is that until those leads become attached by tissue to the vein walls and tightly attached to the heart walls, they are more or less floating in blood. It is during this time after implantation that they are most likely to be damaged or broken. So if you are entirely comfortable with what your doctor says you can do, then go for it. But if on the other hand, you want to wear a belt and suspenders for extra safety, you may want to wait a few extra weeks.

I wish you the best,


how long to wait

by turboz24 - 2008-06-05 08:06:34

I had my ICD implanted and was told not to lift anything over 10 lbs or lift my arm above my shoulder for 2 weeks and I did just that. Affter around 15 days, I went straight to full workouts. My first day of lifting was a little light, 200-210 for the bench presses, but still.

If I had waited like some people suggest 6 weeks to 3 months, I would ahve spent over a year attempting to recover from dropping 45 lbs of weight. As it was, I was loosing 1+ lbs/day.

Maybe my doc took that into consideration and any risk of pulling the leads was worth the exchange for any possible complications of dropping a lot of weight fast.

recovery time

by junebinflorida - 2008-06-05 09:06:01

I especially appreciate the post from Swedeheart.
I'm not sure how to respond to her directly.
You gave us three websites which you found helpful.
Thanks for that.
Are you a Swede? my son is engaged to a Swede and he is a permanent resident of Sweden.


Thanks everyone

by rickprigge - 2008-06-06 03:06:19

Thank you for your helpful comments. But I teed it up last night, gripped it and ripped it, and played a full 18 holes. I only have one lead and it was hanging out of left ear this morning. Just kidding!!!!! I plan on waiting 6+ weeks before I raise my arm or golf.


by LindaScarberry - 2008-06-06 03:06:43

My ICD was implanted on 5/16 and I had a check up yesterday. My doctor told me 4 weeks to wait to raise my arm and NO LIFTING or STRETCHING for a couple of months. He said it actually takes a few months for the leads to become totally implanted. I don't want to go through this again, so I'm listening to him! Take it easy and don't push it.

Good luck

I want to play too

by bationman - 2011-01-24 09:01:21

had my PM inserted in Oct 2010 and had 2nd check-up last thursday. Technician (nice man) said that if I don't try and emulate 'John Daly' then golf shouldn't be of much concern. I wasn't given too many instructions about laying off the heavy loads or stretching etc when I left hospital and did practise my swing in garden during the first month after Op. Thankfully, everything was Ok, but at first 'check-up' was when I discovered more about the do's and don'ts durign the time wires are bedding in. I feel good otherwise and am thankful for technology that's keeping me going.

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I, too, am feeling tons better since my implant.