Phantom Shocks in People with ICD or S-ICD

Phantom Shocks in People with ICD or S-ICD

Why you may never have heard about Phantom Shocks before…

For people receiving ICDs and S-ICDs, there is a huge life adjustment that needs to take place and so many things to process. Having worked in cardiology for many years, we know the level of support people need and the level of support we are able to give, does not balance out.

The education around device implant includes things like…

  • Why you need an ICD
  • What an ICD does and how it works
  • How to take any new medications
  • What the side effects are
  • How to tell if your device becomes infected
  • How not to move your arms
  • When you can start to resume normal activities
  • When can I go back to work
  • What are the rules about driving

The list is actually endless but we chose a few so that we could end the list and crack on

On top of this education, you may have further needs especially emotional and physical rehabilitation. So often healthcare professionals have to prioritise what information they give during the face to face time.

One thing that often get overlooked is phantom shocks, what they are, what causes them and what to do if you think you have been shocked by your device.

What is a Phantom Shock in an ICD or S-ICD?

A phantom shock is exactly what it sounds like. It is when a person with an ICD or S-ICD experiences a sensation that believe was a shock from their device, when actually they have not been shocked at all.

What causes Phantom Shocks?

There is some evidence to suggest that phantom shocks are a symptom of anxiety, depression or not seamlessly adjusting to your new device. Exactly why it happens is still not clear. It may be a reactivation of a memory from the past either when you experienced a shock or from where you have some memory of your device implant surgery.

Which people are more likely to experience Phantom Shocks

Of course anyone with an ICD or S-ICD can experience a phantom shock and some research done in 2019 that found 6.4% of people were experiencing phantom shocks. This research also found that if you have experienced a real shock from your device, you are more likely to then experience a phantom shock at some point in the future. If this has happened to you, there is some good news, the research also found that you are more likely to experience a phantom shock if you are well educated… so maybe you can take a phantom shock as a weird kind of complement.

You can read that research here if you are interested in learning more 🙂

What is the impact of Phantom Shocks

Phantom shocks can impact a person’s mental health and quality of life, delaying their adjustment to their new device. There are often disruptive practical steps too. Phantom shocks often occur at night and so the person will need to wait until the morning to contact contact their healthcare centre, then a device interrogation will be required to check for real shocks, before providing the person reassurance. There is often an need for additional psychological support if the phantom shocks become more common and disruptive.

How LOIS could help with Phantom Shocks

Whilst some drugs have been shown to help treat phantom shocks we really hope that LOIS will help too. By monitoring your body 24/7 for real ICD shocks, if LOIS is not alerting, you can be confident you have not received a real shock. This will avoid the need to check or call your healthcare provider each time and we hope this simple reassurance will help reduce the impact of phantom shocks on a person’s life.

Want to be the first to know about our progress?

We are amazed (and delighted) that our first clinical trial is nearly done and we edge closer to making a difference to peoples lives. We have spoken to people with ICD’s and their families all through our process to create a wearable that is right for you. If you want to keep updated with our progress, test run one of the devices or be one of the first to get hold of one after our launch then sign up here