.Defibrillator Implantation

What is it 

An Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) is a battery-powered device placed under the skin or the muscle (usually on the anterior chest) connected to different heart chambers with leads (cables, Fig 3). It keeps track of your heart rate. If an abnormal fast heart rhythm (ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation) is detected, the device will deliver an electric shock to restore a normal heartbeat. If a slow heartbeat is detected, an electrical impulse sent through the leads will cause the heart to beat faster. ICDs can have one, two or three leads, which are placed in the right ventricle (the heart chamber that pumps blood to the lungs), right atrium (the heart chamber that collects blood from the heart) and ventricle or right atrium and right and left ventricle (the heart chamber that pumps blood to the body), respectively. The last system is called Defibrillator with Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy and is implanted in specific patients with heart failure at high risk for sudden cardiac death. For some time, an entirely subcutaneous defibrillator system has been available (fig. 4). The head/battery of the ICD is connected with a lead implanted on the anterior thorax, avoiding placement of any cable in the heart, therefore reducing specific complications related to the procedure. Patients are usually discharged 2 days after the operation.


What we perform

Defibrillators are implanted in a hospital based setting. We offer all the different current technologies in ICDs Implant including, single, double, biventricular and subcutaneous devices. Devices compatible with magnetic resonance imaging can be implanted if necessary.

Defibrillator Implantation


Why a patient needs an ICD

An ICD is usually implanted when a patient has the following conditions:

- Successful reanimation after ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. A life-threatening condition in which the ventricles contract in a rapid, chaotic rhythm and cannot pump blood to the body

- Heart failure with reduced heart function. The heart is unable to pump blood effectively to meet the body’s metabolic needs and the risk to suddenly develop one of the above situations is high

- Specific inherited heart disease. Some patients are at risk for sudden cardiac arrest due to mutations in specific genes. Often the disease is inherited from a family member (long or short QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome, Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy …).