What can an ICD treat?

This advanced device can treat several heart conditions, including:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Bradycardia (slow heart rate)
  • Ventricular fibrillation (uncontrolled, irregular heartbeat)
  • Atrial fibrillation 
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (very fast heart rate)
  • Heart block (symptoms of fainting)
  • Heart arrhythmias

An ICD is not a pacemaker but monitors your heart rhythm, and when it detects an abnormal rhythm, it delivers a shock to the heart. This device can save you from cardiac arrest if you suffer from a life-threatening heart arrhythmia. The latest advances in technology have led to the development of these devices. The current versions function both as a pacemaker and a defibrillator. The device can record the electrical patterns of your heart to help your cardiac specialist with your treatment.

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. 

Compairing Traditional ICD and S-ICD

The most common type of ICD is about the size of a matchbox. It contains a miniature computer and a battery. These devices can monitor heart rate, shock the heart, and record information about your heart rhythm. For some patients, another ICD is appropriate, called an “S-ICD.” This delivers high-energy shocks but does not involve placing leads through the veins to the heart.

What is the recovery?

You will need to arrange for an adult to drive you home. You will be provided with full aftercare instructions, including how to take your medications. Most people return home after one night in the hospital. You may notice slight discomfort where the device was implanted for about 48 hours and may need pain medication. 

How long will an ICD last?

These devices typically last for three to six years. You will have regular appointments to check your device and schedule surgery to replace it at the right time. 

Why choose us?

San Diego Cardiac Center is a leading-edge heart treatment center. Our team of heart specialists delivers advanced cardiac care, including implanting ICDs in San Diego by our incredibly talented team. We stay at the forefront of the latest developments in cardiac care. Our specialists offer top-level expertise, and we treat the entire spectrum of heart conditions and diseases. We are very progressive in adopting new therapies as a result of our clinical research experience. We often deliver state-of-the-art, recently released procedures and therapies before they are available at any other clinic in the region. 


Can an ICD prevent sudden cardiac death?

Yes, ICDs are designed to detect and treat life-threatening arrhythmias, providing rapid defibrillation to restore normal heart rhythm and prevent sudden cardiac death.

How long does an ICD last?

The battery life of an ICD typically ranges from 5 to 15 years, depending on device settings, usage, and the type of device implanted. Regular follow-up appointments with a cardiologist are necessary to monitor battery status.

Can I travel with an ICD?

Yes, most people with ICDs can travel safely. However, it's important to inform security personnel about the device before going through airport security, as it may set off metal detectors.

Can I lead a normal life with an ICD?

In many cases, individuals with ICDs can lead relatively normal lives. However, certain precautions and lifestyle adjustments may be necessary, and activities that involve strong electromagnetic fields should be approached with caution.

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