Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)
What is a Cardioverter Defibrillator?
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a device used to detect dangerous heart arrhythmias, as well as deliver a shock to the heart in order to regulate the heartbeat and keep blood effectively pumping to the rest of the body. An ICD is placed during cardiac resynchronization therapy and is highly effective when it comes to managing symptoms of heart failure and preventing complications like sudden cardiac death.
Why is a Cardioverter Defibrillator Used?
A cardioverter defibrillator is a battery-powered device placed under the skin that keeps track of the heart rate. If an abnormal heart rhythm is detected, the ICD delivers a shock of electrical energy to the heart in order to restore a normal heartbeat. When a dangerous arrhythmia is present, the heart is unable to pump blood to the rest of the body. With the ICD in place, blood flow is restored and the risk of complications is reduced.
When is a Cardioverter Defibrillator Needed?
Dr. Beshai may suggest an ICD if you are at risk of life-threatening arrhythmias in the lower ventricles. A ventricular arrhythmia can be the result of:
- A heart attack
- Previous cardiac arrest
- Long QT syndrome
- Brugada syndrome
- Congenital heart disease
In these cases, complications from heart failure are a serious concern and can be prevented with the use of an ICD. There are other options when it comes to cardiac resynchronization therapy, including the use of a pacemaker, so Dr. Beshai can help you determine which course of treatment is right for you.
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How is Treatment with a Cardioverter Defibrillator Performed?
A cardioverter defibrillator will be placed through a main vein near the collarbone. This will be done using sedation and local anesthesia to numb the area and keep you comfortable. Using a catheter, leads (electrodes) will run through the vein and to the heart. The ends of the lead wires will be placed inside the heart where they can detect electrical signals. The other end of the leads will be attached to a generator which can deliver an automatic electrical shock to the heart when needed. The generator is about the size of a pocket watch and will be placed under the skin near the collarbone through a tiny incision.
What are the Next Steps After Cardioverter Defibrillator?
After treatment with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, you will be moved to a recovery room to be monitored for the next several hours. You can expect some soreness where the device was inserted, however, most people return to their regular activities in just a few days. Following treatment, you will have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Beshai to ensure the device is working properly. Typically, the ICD is highly effective, and no further treatment will be necessary. However, in some cases, medication is also recommended. The ICD will continue to record and maintain the heart’s rhythm 24/7 and no replacement will be required.
Scheduling Your Cardioverter Defibrillator Appointment
Dr. Beshai offers treatment with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator to those at risk of sudden cardiac death. If you experience symptoms of dangerous heart arrhythmia or heart failure, contact our office and schedule your appointment at the Heart Rhythm Institute of Arizona.
The Heart Institute of Arizona has a wide array of services that come with our premium care. From in-office dianostics and treatable conditions, to hospital based procedures, we’ve got your heart covered.