An ICD is an electronic device that constantly monitors your heart rate and rhythm. When it detects a very fast, abnormal heart rhythm, it delivers energy to the heart muscle to shock it to normal rhythm again. An ICD may also have the ability to pace your heart if the hearts own pacemaker (SA node) no longer functions appropriately to regulate your heart rate.
The ICD has two parts:
There are different types of ICDs:
The ICD computer monitors the heart rhythm, identifies abnormal heart rhythms, and determines the appropriate therapy to return your heartbeat to a normal heart rhythm. Your doctor programs the ICD to include one or all of the following functions:
At present, these procedures typically occur in the hospital as an outpatient procedure. You will lie on a bed and the nurse will start an intravenous line (IV) in your arm or hand. This is so you may receive medications and fluids during the procedure. You will be given an antibiotic to prevent infection and a medication through your IV to relax you and make you drowsy, but it will not put you to sleep.
The nurse will connect you to several monitors. The monitors allow the doctor and nurse to check your heart rhythm, blood pressure and other measurements during the pacemaker implant.
Your chest will be shaved and cleansed with a special soap. Sterile drapes are used to cover you from your neck to your feet. A strap will be placed across your waist and arms to prevent your hands from coming in contact with the sterile field.
The ICD may be implanted in three ways:
The ICD implant takes about one to two hours to perform. Most ICD’s are done as an outpatient. It is important that your shower every day with soap and water prior to this procedure. These devices require routine follow up visits in your doctors office to ensure that they work properly. Compliance with these and all recommended appointments is critically important.