Getting on with Life: Accepting the Permanency of an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine
Increasing numbers of people with cardiovascular disease are requiring the insertion of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs). Although these devices are an effective life-saving treatment, psychological distress sometimes accompanies their insertion. A qualitative approach was used to explore the experiences, concerns and needs of recipients of the device in Western Australia. Twenty-two tape-recorded interviews were carried out and transcribed verbatim. This paper focuses on the physical and psychological adjustments following the insertion of the device. A central theme of ‘getting on with it’ used to cope with the permanency of the device was identified. This was an approach to life in which the presence of the device was accepted and then put aside while life was continued and optimized. This study provides directions for the identification of persons who might be experiencing difficulties adjusting, or who are taking extended amounts of time to accept the permanency of the device.