Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator

What is an implantable cardioverter defibrillator?

An ICD is a small device, similar to a pacemaker, that can treat people with dangerously abnormal heart rhythms. It sends a larger electrical shock to your heart to get it pumping again.

Some devices contain both an ICD and a pacemaker.

A battery-powered electronic circuit called a pulse generator and one or more pacing leads make up an ICD.

There are two basic types of ICD:

  • Traditional/transvenous ICD – the device is surgically implanted in your chest and its pacing lead is passed through your vein to your heart. This is the most common type of ICD procedure.
  • Subcutaneous ICD (S-ICD) – the device and pacing lead are implanted under your skin. The device is inserted to the side of your chest below your armpit and the pacing lead runs along your breastbone.

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