Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) For Tachycardia

What is an ICD?

If you have a condition called tachycardia, otherwise known as a fast heartbeat, you and your doctor may decide an implantable heart device called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is the right option for you.

When people refer to an implantable defibrillator, they are actually discussing the system—the defibrillator (ICD) and the leads.

  • An ICD continuously monitors the heart and automatically delivers therapies to correct fast heart rhythms when necessary
  • Leads are thin, soft insulated wires about the size of a spaghetti noodle. The leads carry the electrical impulse from the defibrillator to your heart and relay information about the heart’s natural activity back to the implantable defibrillator

After the ICD system is implanted, an external computer, called a programmer, located at your doctor's office or clinic can be used to program the heart device and retrieve information from your heart device that will assist your doctor in your heart failure treatment. Your doctor will schedule periodic monitoring which may be done remotely if physician deems appropriate.


An implantable defibrillator is designed to monitor your heart rhythm 24 hours a day. If your heart is beating too fast or irregularly, the device will first send small painless electrical signals to correct your heart rate. If the fast heart rate continues, the defibrillator will deliver a shock to restore your heart to a normal rate.

The implantable defibrillator can also treat slow heart rhythms by sending electrical pulses to the heart to correct it. Your doctor will program the ICD to deliver the most effective therapies for your specific heart condition.

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.