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After Surgery: The First Few Weeks with an Implant

First things first: Most patients recover soon after being fitted with a cardiac device. You may feel slight pain at the implantation site during the first few days. This generally subsides quickly, and you will start noticing your pacemaker, defibrillator or implantable heart monitor less and less. In this section, you will find helpful information to aid with a speedy recovery after your heart device implantation. 


What to Expect after Surgery?

Once you have been discharged from the hospital or the doctor’s office after surgery, please take it slow and keep the incision dry. You may feel a slight pain at the implantation site for the first few days. Maybe you even have a bruise and a sore chest. It is also possible you can see or feel the outline of your pacemaker or defibrillator under your skin.  

Walking is a good way to stay active while your recovery. Getting enough rest, for instance whenever you feel tired, is equally important. It is also helping you to get used to your heart implant.

Organize Help

To avoid pain and complications, give your body time to heal by not stretching your arms, by not lifting heavy items, exercising or by intense physical contact during the first couple of days or weeks. Talk to your friends and family beforehand so they can assist you with grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning or washing your hair once you are back home. You may also need to wait a few days or weeks until you are allowed to drive again. We recommend that you let people close to you know ahead of time that you may require a ride to go to your follow-up examination. Also, stocking up on your groceries and preparing meals that you only have to heat up is a good idea. In addition, make sure that you keep your Patient ID card with you when you leave the house.

When to Contact your Doctor

Always consult your physician if you notice signs such as swelling, reddening or discharge from the implantation site, or if you have a fever that lasts longer than two or three days. Also ask your doctor if you feel dizzy or have chest pain for prolonged periods of time, or if you notice that you are always tired. It may also be helpful to record any unusual symptoms via the BIOTRONIK Patient App or in a diary that you can share with your doctor during your follow-up visit. 

If you are unsure when you can take the first shower, start driving, working or exercising again, your healthcare team will be able to advise you best. Your doctor will also instruct you on which medicines to take and on which medicines to consult with a healthcare professional before taking them. 

Give Yourself Time

Of course, it will take time to get used to your implanted heart device. Everyone is different, so it can take a few days or even a few months to fully recover from the procedure. It can be a challenge to accept the "foreign” device as part of your own body. In the beginning, you may experience a loss of self-confidence, be very sensitive or feel blue. These feelings will subside as you emotionally accept the pacemaker or implanted defibrillator. If you continue to feel irritable, worried or depressed, ask your physician about getting professional assistance. 

Elderly man drinking a cup of tea

Follow-Up Examinations

Before you are discharged from the hospital, your physician will schedule follow-up appointments to regularly check your health and the implant. The first follow-up appointment is generally four to six weeks after the implantation. During this visit, your physician will ensure that the implantation wound has healed and check your implant’s therapy settings. No incision or surgery is necessary, as an external device is used to program the implant. Your doctor can see all of the device’s settings on a screen and will know, for instance, how long its battery will last. 

Follow up examination

BIOTRONIK Home Monitoring

As your cardiologist has no insight into the rhythm and therapy delivered by the heart device unless you are at the doctor’s office, there is a risk that changes in your health or suboptimal therapy settings are not identified soon enough before your next follow-up appointment. To allow your physician to monitor these events at all times, BIOTRONIK offers Home Monitoring. With automatic and daily transmissions of your heart’s data, your physician can comprehensively analyze your health and your therapy’s suitability, and schedule additional follow-up appointments as necessary. 

Doctor holding heart devices in his hands