Before going ahead with surgery, there are certain questions you need to ask. If in doubt, consider getting a second opinion.
Make sure you fully understand the procedure; don’t be afraid to ask questions. It's imperative your doctor explains the common risks and benefits, as well as those particular to your circumstances. Knowing all the relevant information is part of informed clinical consent.
Questions for your cardiologist
- How urgent is this procedure?
- What happens during and after surgery?
- What is the potential benefit to me if I have a device implanted?
- How will the device affect the way I feel?
- Will I be able to see or feel the device under my skin?
- What might happen if I don’t have the device implanted?
- Is there anything I can do to improve the outcome of the surgery?
- What are the potential complications of the implant procedure in my case?
- What type of sedation and/or anaesthesia will I receive during the procedure?
- Will I stay overnight at the hospital after the procedure?
- What should I expect during the weeks after surgery?
- How will my device be monitored once it has been implanted?
- How many years can I expect the battery in my device to last?
- What are the likely out-of-pocket medical expenses? (Your doctor should be able to give you a breakdown of any costs you'll incur – this is known as ‘Informed Financial Consent’).
- How should I prepare for surgery?
- When should I last eat and drink beforehand?
- Which of my medications should I take on the morning of my procedure?
- Will I have a choice of anaesthetist?
- Will I be able to meet with the anaesthetist before the day of surgery?
- Will there be an additional fee for the anaesthetist? If so, what will it be?
- How many pacemaker or defibrillator surgeries do you perform each year?
- What percentage of patients are satisfied with the results of the pacemaker or defibrillator procedures you perform?
- What is your complication rate for this procedure? (2-4% is normal)
- What sort of result can I expect as a result of the procedure?
- What limitations will there be to my activities? When can I drive, when can I resume sports, sexual activities, etc.?
- Follow-up appointments (Write down any questions or concerns you want to discuss with your cardiologist)
Tell your cardiologist if you have any skin lesions, sores, cuts, or a raised temperature, as you'll need to be treated before surgery.
Most medication should be taken as usual, but some may interfere with the operation. Your cardiologist will let you know which medication (if any) you should stop. This could include:
- NSAIDs (including aspirin)
- Blood thinners (warfarin, heparin)
- Pain medication
Don’t forget to mention any homeopathic or herbal remedies you’re taking, as these can have interactions and side effects too.
Questions for your anaesthetist
- What type of anaesthesia are you planning to use for my surgery?
- Will you be prescribing a pre-med? (A medication given before the anaesthetic to prevent nausea, reduce stomach acid or help you relax)
- How will my pain be managed after the surgery? (The anaesthetist is responsible for this)
Print out this page to take to your appointment with the cardiologist and anaesthetist