What is implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation?

An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is a small device that is placed under the skin of the chest to help treat ventricular arrhythmias and prevent sudden cardiac arrest. The device continuously monitors the heart rhythm and delivers electrical impulses or shocks to restore a normal heart rhythm if an abnormal rhythm is detected.

During an ICD implantation procedure, a small incision is made in the chest and the device is placed under the skin. Leads, which are thin wires, are inserted through veins and positioned inside the heart. The leads are then connected to the ICD device, which is programmed to monitor and treat abnormal heart rhythms.

Who is it for?

ICD implantation may be recommended for patients who are at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest due to certain heart conditions, such as arrhythmias, heart failure, or those who have already experienced sudden cardiac arrest. The decision to undergo ICD implantation will depend on the individual patient’s medical history, symptoms, and the results of diagnostic tests such as electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiogram and/or electrophysiology study.

What to expect on the day?

ICD implantation is performed in a hospital under local anesthesia and mild sedation. You are typically awake but drowsy during the procedure, but will not feel any pain.

During the procedure, the cardiologist will make a small incision in the chest and insert the ICD device under the skin. The leads will be guided through veins and positioned inside the heart, and then connected to the ICD device. The cardiologist will test the device to make sure it is working properly before closing the incision with sutures.

After the procedure, you will be monitored for several hours to ensure that there are no complications, such as bleeding. Patients may need to stay in the hospital for observation overnight, but most can go home the following day.

Our cardiologist’s will advise you of any precautions to take when you are home until your review within 10-14 days. At that review the dressing will be removed and the defibrillator will be checked again.

Overall, ICD implantation is a safe and effective treatment for preventing sudden cardiac arrest in high-risk patients.