Dawn Watkins cardiac nurse specialist at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital spoke to the group regarding a very delicate subject – deactivating a I.C.D.
Dawn wanted to raise awareness that should an individual become terminally ill then the subject of deactivating an ICD may be broached.
Dawn explained the need for us to raise awareness with our cardiologists/ ICD nurse specialists if there is any indication of significant changes to health.
Should there be an occasion in the future when an individual is diagnosed with a terminal illness then generally the preference for care aimed at prolonging life changes to palliative care and therefore the device may be deactivated.
Deactivation is an option because the devices can cause needless pain in a terminally ill patient if it shocks them. Several cases have been reported where patients have received multiple shocks during their final hours / minutes of life.
The planned deactivation of an ICD would entail a discussion between you, family and all appropriate members of the care team.
The decision would be documented in your case notes. Should any improvement in health be identified then the decision could be reversed.
** Turning off the ICD would mean that the individual would no longer receive life saving treatment in the event of an arrhythmia.
** Turning off the ICD does not mean instant death.
** Turning off the ICD will not be painful nor will its failure to function cause pain.
Should anyone have any concerns regarding these issues then PLEASE talk with your ICD nurse specialist or cardiologist.