What is an ICD?
An ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) is a small device that is implanted underneath the skin to help keep track of- and control your heartbeat. The difference with a pacemaker is that an ICD can intervene in case of a life threatening heart rhythm abnormality. The ICD consists of a small box and one or two wires. In the metal box there is a small chip and a battery that powers the device and has a life span of many years.
When will you receive an ICD?
- In case of a life threatening heart rhythm disorder such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation.
- When you have a high risk of a heart rhythm disorder or cardiac arrest.
- When medicines for your heart rhythm disorder don’t work or surgery isn’t possible.
During surgery a small incision, approximately 5 cm or 2 inches long, is made on your chest underneath your collarbone. In general the device is placed under your left collarbone, but a surgeon might choose to place it under your right collarbone or elsewehere. The pacemaker is implanted at this location underneath the skin and the wires are led through a vein to the heart. Small electric pulses, that you won’t be able to feel, are sent through the wire to your heart when needed.
Like an ICD, a CRT-defibrillator is designed to intervene in case of a life threatening heart rhythm abnormality. Other than a normal ICD, a CRT-D has three wires instead of one or two and sends small electric pulses to your left and right ventricles to help your heart pump more efficiently.
What is the difference between a pacemaker and an ICD?
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