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Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)

An ICD is a battery operated device connected to wires that run to your heart and is implanted in a similar way to a pacemaker. It is able to deliver an electrical shock to the heart during a life threatening heart rhythm. The aim is to ‘reboot’ the heart to get it back into a normal rhythm again.

All modern ICD contain a pacemaker in addition to the ICD component.

ICD may be used as a preventative treatment for people who are deemed to be at risk of cardiac arrhythmia or cardiac arrest. Such devices are called primary prevention ICD.

ICDs may also be used in patients who have suffered a life threatening cardiac arrhythmia and may continue to be at risk in the future. These are called secondary prevention ICD.

ICD may be single chamber (1 lead), dual chamber (2 leads) or Biventricular (3 lead) also called Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT devices).

You may have the device implanted under the skin on the left side of your chest with an electrode placed alongside your breast bone which connects to the battery.  This is known as subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator (SICD) . Your doctors will speak to you about what type of ICD is most appropriate for you.