ICD is a battery-powered device that is placed under the skin to track a person's heart rate. ICD thin wires attach to the heart and, if an abnormal heart rate is detected, the device produces an electric shock to restore normal heart rate. The new generation of ICDs also have dual function including the ability to act as a pacemaker. This characteristic can stimulate the heart to beat in cases where the previous beat is drastically reduced.
ICDs are very effective in preventing sudden death in patients with stable and well-known tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. Studies have also shown that ICDs are helpful in preventing myocardial infarction in patients at risk for ventricular arrhythmias.
The American Heart Association recommends that before arriving as a candidate for cardiac ICD, the arrhythmia must be threatening and dangerous and the physician has rejected the correctable causes of arrhythmia, including:
Because many patients are unaware of background conditions such as heart failure or genetic susceptibility to the risk of sudden heart attack, and also because ICDs are primarily used to prevent sudden myocardial infarction, assessing the benefits and comparisons thereof. It is incomprehensible with the limitations of ICD implantation.
It may be important for you to know that ICD will not alter the terrestrial conditions that led to ICD implantation. Whether under conditions of heart failure or genetic risks of sudden heart attack, ICD can be used to prevent sudden heart attack. While using ICD does not lead to reversal of heart disease or altered genes, it can reduce the risk of heart attack. However, you should follow your doctor's instructions for treating ground conditions.
To determine whether you need an ICD, your doctor might perform a variety of diagnostic tests, which may include:
It collects reflected sound waves (echoes) from your heart and transmits them to a machine that uses the sound wave patterns to compose images of your beating heart on a monitor. These images show how well your heart is functioning, and recorded images allow your doctor to measure the size and thickness of your heart muscle.
While wearing the monitor, you'll keep a diary of your activities and symptoms. Your doctor will compare the diary with the electrical recordings and try to figure out the cause of your symptoms.
It's likely you'll be asked not to eat or drink for at least eight hours before your surgery. Talk to your doctor about the medications you take and whether you should continue to take them before your procedure to implant an ICD.
Usually, the procedure to implant an ICD can be performed with numbing medication and a sedative that relaxes you but allows you to remain aware of your surroundings. In some cases, general anesthesia, which puts you to sleep, may be used.
The procedure usually takes a few hours. During surgery, one or more flexible, insulated wires (leads) are inserted into veins near your collarbone and guided, with the help of X-ray images, to your heart. The ends of the leads are secured to your heart, while the other ends are attached to the generator, which is usually implanted under the skin beneath your collarbone.
Once the ICD is in place, your doctor will test it and program it for your heart rhythm problem. Testing the ICD might require speeding up your heart and then shocking it back into normal rhythm.
You'll stay in the hospital one or two days, and the ICD might be tested once more before you're discharged. Additional testing of your ICD usually doesn't require surgery.
After surgery, you may have some pain in the incision area, which can remain swollen and tender for a few days or weeks. Your doctor might prescribe pain medication. As your pain lessens, you can take no aspirin pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others).
Unless your doctor instructs you to do so, don't take pain medication containing aspirin because it can increase bleeding risk.
When you're released from the hospital, you'll need to arrange for a ride home because you won't be able to drive for at least a week.
Possible risks of ICD insertion include:
If you are pregnant or think that you could be, or are currently breastfeeding, tell your healthcare provider.
If you are allergic to or sensitive to any medicines or latex, tell your healthcare provider.
Lying still on the procedure table for the length of the procedure may cause some discomfort or pain.
There may be other risks depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.
The lithium battery in your ICD can last up to seven years. The battery will be checked during regular checkups, which should occur every three to six months. When the battery is nearly out of power, your old shock generator is replaced with a new one during a minor outpatient procedure
Take the following precautions when you have an ICD implanted.