Implantable cardioverter defibrillator insertion (ICD)
Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) are useful in preventing sudden death in patients with known, persistent ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation. Studies have shown that ICD have a role in preventing cardiac arrest in high-risk patients who have not had but are at risk for ventricular arrhythmias.
Newer-generation implantable cardioverter defibrillators may have a dual function that includes the ability to serve as pacemakers. The pacemaker function would stimulate the heart to beat if the heart rate is detected to be too slow.
What is an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)?
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator is a battery-powered device that is located under the skin and monitors your pulse. Thin wires connect the ICD to your heart. If an abnormal heart rhythm is detected, the device will produce an electric shock to restore normal heart function if your heart beats chaotically and too fast.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillators have been very useful in preventing sudden death in patients with known, persistent ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation. Studies have shown that they can play a role in preventing cardiac arrest in high-risk patients who did not have, but are at risk for, life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias.
Because many people do not understand the underlying condition – such as heart failure or a genetic predisposition to the risk of sudden cardiac arrest – and because ICDs are used primarily to prevent sudden cardiac death, they may not understand the benefits of implanted ICD.
What is an implantable cardioverter defibrillator used for?
Your doctor may recommend the installation of a defibrillator if there is a risk of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia if:
- you have had a ventricular arrhythmia
- you have had a heart attack
- you have survived a sudden cardiac arrest
- Long QT interval syndrome
- Brugada syndrome
- Congenital heart disease or other underlying conditions for sudden cardiac arrest
How is an implantable cardioverter defibrillator installed?
A battery-powered pulse generator is installed in a pouch under the skin of the chest or abdomen, often just below the collarbone. The generator is approximately the size of a pocket watch. Wires run from the pulse generator to a position on the surface or inside the heart and can be installed through blood vessels, eliminating the need for surgery.
How does the ICD work?
The ICD knows when the heartbeat is abnormal and tries to get it back to normal.
- If your ICD has a pacemaker function when your heart rate is too slow, it works as a pacemaker and sends tiny electrical signals to your heart.
- When the heartbeat is too fast or chaotic, the ICD generates defibrillation shocks to stop the abnormal rhythm.
- Works 24 hours a day.
The new devices also provide “overdrive” pacing for the electrical conversion of persistent ventricular tachycardia (fast heart rate) and “backup” pacing if bradycardia (slow heart rate) occurs. They also offer a host of other sophisticated features such as the storage of detected arrhythmic events and the ability to perform electrophysiological tests. Stored information can help your doctor optimize your ICD for your needs.
ICD insertion at the Pulse Cardiology Center
ICD insertion is performed in a specially equipped Cath-lab by experts in interventional cardiology and radiology. Take a look at our team and schedule an appointment. Our call center is available every day until 8 pm on 0117555000 if you have additional questions. You can also contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org