If you have heart rhythm problems, such as a racing heartbeat, very slow heartbeat, or your heart is not providing enough blood to your system, an ICD could be the advised treatment. This small medical device is implanted beneath your skin to monitor your heart rhythm and deliver electrical pulses when needed to trigger a healthy rhythm.
What is the procedure of having an ICD implanted?
Implanting an ICD is minor surgery. The process involves only local anesthetic and intravenous sedation to keep you comfortable. It may require from one to three hours to implant the device, and you may need an overnight stay in the hospital to ensure the device is working as it should. It is inserted under your skin in the area beneath your collarbone.
The device has leads (wires) inserted through a vein, and with X-ray guidance, the lead will be connected to your heart muscle. The other end is attached to the “pulse generator,” the part of the device that delivers the shock. This is a delicate procedure and requires testing the leads to ensure they are triggering a heart contraction. Once the leads are confirmed as working correctly, they are connected to the device. The ICD is programmed by your doctor externally, creating the device settings appropriate for your condition. The procedure may take from one to four hours to complete, and you should not feel any pain.