Heart Health – S-ICD Implant

Eight years ago I had a heart attack. A year or so ago I had more heart challenges. Short of breath, etc. June 21, 2021 they put a second stent in and I got matched with a cardiologist. I have a low ejection fraction of 35%. (How much blood leaves your heart every beat, me – 35%. Normal is 55- 60%) Between this and past heart incidents I’m at risk. It was decided I should get an implanted device, a S-ICD or Subcutaneous Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator. Although similar, it’s not a pacemaker, but a type of ICD. They are not invasive,  rather, tucked under my armpit just under the skin.  It’s like a mini defibrillator inside me.   

I get inspiration from this short video put out by the maker of the device, Boston Scientific in part because he is also a cyclist and he likes to get his heart going.  

October 6, 2022, Jan dropped me to the hospital at 7 am.  They prepped me and at 8:08 I was lying on a bed in a room with around eight people all there for me.  Wow.  It included two from Boston Scientific,  maker of the S-ICD.  Three breaths and the next thing I knew it was 9:35 am and I was back in my original bed in short term cardiac care.  I met the B.S. rep again and they tested it..  I relaxed.. had lunch.. had a few people come by including the cardiologist installer of the device,  Dr.  Sikkel.  Every minute I knew I was in remarkable, caring hands.  An amazing day.   Jan took me home around 4 pm.   We went for a slow stroll in the neighbourhood that evening. 

I wasn’t to cycle for 2 weeks, can’t drive for a month. For a few days I felt like I was tackled by a football team, sore and bruised, but every day was better. It’s three weeks later I feel I am back at full speed on the bike. And I love to pump the bike to get the heart going. I do feel the device bounce around a bit. maybe that will fade over time. When I sleep on my side I feel like there is a $2 coin taped to my side. The bruising feeling is almost disappeared.  

I feel like it’s the end of a 16 month journey that started with the stent,  June 2021.   I take inspiration from the B.S. cyclists’ video and feel, like Rob (in the video) I can push my heart and my body.

I asked.  Around 900 ICD devices are installed in British Columbia in a year. Around 50 are the Subcutaneous ICD (S-ICD).  They are not for everyone but are less intrusive than an ICD or pacemaker and therefore less risky.  Around 150 people in BC have had one implanted, ever.  I’m a lucky man. I know the heart health journey continues but wow,  am I ever lucky.   

IMAGE. The device is under my armpit. The lead line goes from the device, just under my skin and over to above my heart. If I have another heart incident, it detects it and gives my heart a shock, just like the ambulance people do with the defib paddles.


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4 responses to “Heart Health – S-ICD Implant

  1. I am so grateful you have shared this journey Kevin. You description made me feel line I was cheering you on. Take care of you, and thank you Jan for taking care of my friend. Stay healthy Kev.

  2. Hey Kevin, been a while. I had x4 bypass back in 2018 and an ICD inserted in May 2019 after fainting, diagnosed with a episode of VT. I had a cardiogram in February and my EF was 35%, cardiologist put me on three different meds, had another cardiogram this past September and now up to 43%. We are now in Nanaimo now.

  3. I bad, say hi to Jan for us… 😁

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