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About the Therapy
Are you at risk for sudden cardiac arrest due to ventricular tachycardia? If so, an implantable defibrillator may be needed to regulate your heartbeat. This device is about the size of a pocket watch.
An ICD is an implantable heart device about the size of a pocket watch. It is implanted under the skin typically just below the collarbone on the left or right side of your chest.
All treatment and outcome results are specific to the individual patient, and will form part of your consultation with your healthcare professional.
Please consult your healthcare professional for a full list of benefits, indications, precautions, clinical results, and other important medical information that pertains to implantable cardioverter defibrillator therapy.
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a tiny computer, plus a battery, contained in a small titanium metal case that is about the size of a pocket watch. It weighs approximately 70 grams.
The ICD is implanted under your skin, typically on the left or right side of your chest, just below the collarbone. In addition to the device itself, leads (tiny insulated wires) are implanted for two purposes: to carry information signals from your heart to the heart device, and when necessary, to carry electrical impulses to your heart.
The third part of your implantable device system is a programmer, an external computer located in your doctor's office or clinic that is used to program the heart device and retrieve information from your device that will assist your doctor in your treatment.
If your doctor has advised you that an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is the best course of treatment for your tachycardia, you may have a variety of questions and concerns.
Here are some common topics of interest to individuals considering an implantable heart device:
The procedure to implant a heart device may be done under either general or local anaesthetic. If it is done under local anaesthesia, you will be given medication to make you sleepy and comfortable. It does not require open-heart surgery, and most people go home within 24 hours.
Your doctor will provide more detailed information, but most individuals can expect to gradually return to their everyday activities shortly after the procedure.
Experiencing a shock from an ICD can be a concern for many individuals. An implantable defibrillator shock will most likely take you by surprise.
You may feel fine afterward, or you may feel dizzy, sick, or disoriented after the shock occurs. It's important to talk to your doctor and have a plan in place so that you know exactly what to do when you experience a shock. Your doctor may want you to phone in or schedule an appointment after you’ve had a shock.
Sometimes individuals wonder if there will be a noticeable bulge where the heart device was implanted. In general, you may notice a slight bump under your skin where your ICD is located.
An implantable heart device allows many individuals to participate in the activities they enjoy. Your doctor will have more information on activities you may need to avoid. This might include activities where a few seconds of unconsciousness could be dangerous to yourself or others. However, most people resume their normal daily activities after full recovery from surgery.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.