medical IDs for implanted cardiac device

Medical IDs for Implanted Cardiac Devices

Live confidently with implanted cardiac devices

For people living with certain types of heart conditions, implanted cardiac devices are lifesavers. Each year in the US, around 400,000 cardiac devices are implanted, and more than 3 million people currently have one. 

An implanted cardiac device is an electronic device that is implanted under the skin and connected to your heart, or implanted on or inside the heart itself. These devices can correct abnormal heart rhythms, help your heart pump blood more effectively, and record problems that happen with your heart, depending on the type of device. 

If you have an implanted cardiac aid such as a pacemaker, ICD, LVAD, or cardiac loop recorder,  it’s important to know what kind of device you have, what kind of problems you might experience while using one, and what to do in the event of an emergency.

In addition, many people with implanted cardiac devices are also on blood thinners, which can affect how you should be treated in an emergency.

If you have an implanted cardiac device, it’s critical that first responders are aware of your condition, and know if you have any contraindications such as no chest compressions or no MRI.  

Medical IDs for implanted cardiac devices play a vital role in providing extra safety for those living with these devices in the event of an accident or medical emergency.

How MedicAlert protects those with implanted cardiac devices

One thing you shouldn’t worry about is what could happen if there’s a medical emergency. MedicAlert’s protection plans offer benefits that extend beyond the ID, providing safety and peace of mind for people living with implanted cardiac devices, their families and caregivers.

24/7 Emergency Response

Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.

Digital Health Profile

All your vital information, all in one place for you and your caregiver.

Emergency Contact Notification

In an emergency, we connect families so that no one is alone in a crisis.

24/7 Emergency Response

Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.

Pair a medical ID for implanted cardiac devices with the protection plan that’s right for you.

What exactly are implanted cardiac devices?

Several types of electronic devices can be implanted in the body to help treat problems with heart function. The American Heart Association describes these devices as useful for both rhythm control and as support for the heart and circulation:

  • Implanted cardiac defibrillator– also called an ICD, this device monitors for life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and delivers a shock to correct the arrhythmia. It can also record abnormal rhythms for review later.
  • Pacemaker– a device that helps control heart rate by helping the heart beat regularly. It is used in cases where the heart rhythm is too slow or too fast. A biventricular pacemaker helps coordinate the pumping chambers to improve heart function as well.
  • Left ventricular assist device (LVAD)– an implanted device that acts as a pump to help the largest part of the heart, the left ventricle, squeeze and circulate blood effectively when it cannot on its own.
  • Percutaneous heart pump– a small type of LVAD used in the heart chamber to assist with circulation and pumping

Always carry an ID card or wear a medical identification bracelet stating that you have a pacemaker, ICD, LVAD, or other implanted device.

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Why does someone need an Implanted Cardiac Device?

There are several reasons a person might need an implanted cardiac device. Damage from heart attacks, heart failure, and certain hereditary conditions can all affect heart function in ways that cause dangerous problems.

At a basic level, implanted cardiac devices can be used to correct the two issues mentioned above: heart rhythm problems, and pumping and circulation issues.

Heart rhythm problems: ICDs and pacemakers

When the heart has difficulty controlling its rhythm, it can beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly.

For people with arrhythmias like ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, an implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD) can stop a potentially deadly rhythm disturbance. The American Heart Association recommends the use of ICDs for people with arrhythmias that are life-threatening and not due to a correctable cause.

For people whose heart beats too slowly, a pacemaker can correct the problem by electrically stimulating a normal heart rate. Some ICDs serve the dual purpose of a defibrillator and a pacemaker depending on what rhythm the heart is in.

Pumping and circulation issues: LVADs and percutaneous heart pumps

LVADs, including percutaneous heart pumps, are commonly used to help with decreased heart function due to heart failureThese devices can help to correct pumping and circulation issues. They help the heart muscle rest and give people waiting for a heart transplant extra time.

What to engrave on your medical ID for implanted cardiac devices:

MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our medical IDs for implanted cardiac devices. The engraving on your ID should include the critical medical information that first responders need to know in an accident or emergency.

The best things to engrave on medical IDs for implanted cardiac devices include:

  • Type of implanted device
  • Medications you’re taking
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Other health conditions
  • Any other important details, such as “no MRI”
medical IDs for implanted cardiac devices

Sample engraving. Consult our team if you need help engraving your medical ID for implanted cardiac devices.

What are the potential complications of having an implanted cardiac device?

There are a few potential complications you should be aware of if you have an implanted cardiac device. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, common complications of ICD placement include:

  • Infection (where the device is implanted)
  • Swelling, bleeding, or bruising
  • Damage to blood vessels from ICD leads
  • Life-threatening bleeding around the heart
  • Heart valve problems related to the device
  • Collapsed lung (pneumothorax)
  • Complications due to movement of the device or its connections (rare)

Similar complications can happen with any of the other implanted cardiac devices discussed. It’s also possible for other devices to interfere with your implanted cardiac device. 

ICDs and pacemakers can be affected by:

  • Cell phones
  • MP3 players/headphones
  • Anti-theft systems
  • Metal detectors (like those found in airports)
  • Magnets (like those used in MRIs)
  • Power-generating equipment (like jumper cables and arc welding equipment)
  • Ab stimulators and electronic body fat scales
  • Electric fences

Additionally, some medical procedures can interfere with implanted cardiac devices, which is another reason your device information must be available to healthcare providers at all times by using a medical ID for implanted cardiac devices. If your device delivers a shock, or you have a heart-related complication, you may not be able to relay this information yourself.

Because of this, if you are unable to notify emergency personnel that you have an implanted cardiac device, a MedicAlert ID and Protection Plan could prevent any medical procedures from being done that could cause a malfunction of your device.

How do you treat, manage, and live with an implanted cardiac device?

Living with an implanted cardiac device requires some special care. The first step in managing this care is understanding how your implanted cardiac device works and what it’s used for.

If you feel confused about these details, you aren’t alone. A 2019 study found that 81% of patients would like to better understand their device’s battery life, 76% their activity level, and 73% their heart rate trend. It can be helpful to write down a list of these or any other questions you have and bring them to your next doctor’s appointment.

Following are some basics to properly maintain your implanted cardiac device. You will need to be sure to:

  • Always attend routine doctor’s appointments to follow up on your condition and the device
  • Follow instructions for virtual monitoring provided with your device
  • Avoid situations that can potentially interact with your device and cause malfunction
  • Take medications as prescribed by your doctor
  • Follow your doctor’s recommendations about physical activity
  • Have your device batteries replaced as appropriate. Your doctor can advise you on the correct interval and how to have your device checked
  • Always be sure healthcare providers are aware you have the device

As previously mentioned, a MedicAlert ID and enrollment in a Protection Plan ensure that all the important details about your heart condition and your implanted cardiac device are available 24/7. A great example of this is the MedicAlert Smart ID, which you can use as a wallet card. It uses proven QR code technology to create a scannable link to all of your health information in an emergency.

How a  medical ID  for implanted cardiac devices combined with MedicAlert  Membership provides peace of mind

With any serious medical condition, a medical ID is an important lifeline in an emergency. A high-quality medical ID like a MedicAlert bracelet provides first responders with critical details about a person’s health history and any medical devices like an implanted cardiac device. 

The heart conditions underlying the use of an implanted cardiac device mean that you could be temporarily unable to communicate in an emergency. In this case, a MedicAlert ID with membership in an accompanying Protection Plan acts as your voice, ensuring that first responders and other healthcare providers can rapidly access information that is important to share in an emergency.

  • Be your voice: If you can’t speak for yourself, your ID will speak for you, informing others about your implanted cardiac devices and any medications you are taking.

  • Provide 24/7 emergency protection: Our team will relay all of your critical medical information to first responders in an emergency, no matter where or when it happens.

  • Keep you connected: You should never be alone in an emergency, that’s why MedicAlert will reach out to your emergency contacts when needed if you are unable to do so.

  • Enable you to live with confidence: The freedom to live your life with implanted cardiac devices, knowing that MedicAlert is there for you.
DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information in this article is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.