Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small, battery-operated device that monitors the heart’s rhythm and provides appropriate treatment. Most ICDs have both pacemaker and defibrillator functions. If the heart beats too slowly, the ICD can help the heart beat at a normal pace. If the heart begins to beat in a disorganized way, the device provides a shock to restore a normal rhythm. ICD implantation is the surgical insertion of an ICD.
Implanted Cardioverter Defibrillator
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Certain heart rhythms are extremely dangerous and can lead to sudden cardiac death or cardiac arrest. Some irregular rhythms that may require an ICD implant include:
- Bradycardia—heart beating too slowly
- Ventricular tachycardia—heart beating too rapidly
- Ventricular fibrillation—heart muscle not pumping, but just quivering
ICDs are implanted in patients who:
- Have had one or more episodes of serious irregular heart rhythms
- Have had a heart attack and are at high risk for arrhythmias
- Have a high risk of dangerous arrhythmias
- Have a weakened heart muscle
- Have a high likelihood of developing an arrhythmia
- Have the condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is an enlarged heart muscle that does not function properly
Last reviewedJune 2013by Michael J. Fucci, DO; Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.