The other day I was reading on my iPad in bed when I fell asleep and my iPad fell onto my chest, right over my AICD*. The ipad has a keybord case, which has a magnetic closure, and magnets affect ICDs. They literally turn them off.
This happened to me already before with my old ICD and when that happened a low tone emitted from the ICD for about 10 seconds and then stopped. I called my then electrocardiologist and asked if this would have affected the ICD in any way. After a day or two, I didn't get a response and eventually went onto the Medtronic web site for myself and found out. The magnet actually does no harm, but what it does do is turn the ICD off while the magnet is on it. Hence the low tone to let me know that the ICD was off. When the magnet is removed, the ICD automatically turns itself back on.
This time however, I have the newer model ICD which was replaced in July last year, and the tone was significantly louder and went on for a lot longer than 10 seconds. At the beginning of this year, begrudgingly I had to find a new electrophysiologist because my new insurance would not accept my old cardiologists. At the time I was really nervous because I was comfortable with the team of docotrs that i had, but the change turned out to be a blessing in disguise as my new doctor is really an amazing guy. He is the doctor that realized that my medicine for my pulmonary hypertension was actually causing the pulmonary hypertension and took me off of it. I have his direct email, and so, when this last incident happened, I wrote him to make sure that everything would be okay or if he needed to interogate the ICD to make sure all was okay.
Literally four minutes later I received a reply from him saying that he had not come across that personally and could not answer. However, he forwarded on my question to the electrophysiology department as well as the Medtronic representative that was stationed in the hospital. Within half an hour I received replies from three separate people letting me know that everything should be fine and offering to have them interrogate the ICD remotely if I would feel better to.
I was blown away. I was dealing with doctors at Mt. Sinai for years, and I thought they were good and responsive because I would get a reply within a day or two. But this new doctor and his team were on it and responsive all within thirty minutes.
If that does not inspire confidence in your cardiac team, what will? Sometimes the universe kicks you out of one place and at the time you question why, but in the long run, the new almost always turns out to be the better deal.
* AICD, ICD – Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator