About 697,000 people in the United States have died from heart disease in 2020.

If you’ve ever experienced heart palpitations or other forms of irregular heartbeats, you may wonder, “is it a heart problem or panic attack?”

Before modern technology came around, those suffering from arrhythmia would require open-heart surgery to correct the issue. For the faint of heart, this can be an issue to overcome.

Nowadays, those who need this type of surgery can opt for an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator.

Keep reading for a full breakdown of why this is better than conventional surgery!

Using an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator

An Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) is a device placed under the skin that monitors the heart and delivers electrical shocks to restore a normal heart rhythm. It is different from a pacemaker, which only helps the heart to beat more regularly.

ICDs treat life-threatening heart rhythms called ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF). These rhythms can cause sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) when the heart stops beating.

A surgeon will implant the ICD under the skin, usually in the chest. The devices have two leads (wires) placed in the heart. These leads sense the heart’s electrical signals and deliver shocks to the heart if needed.

ICDs are battery-powered and can last for 5 to 7 years before needing to be replaced. The devices are programmed to deliver shocks only when required.

Risks of Having an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator

Although an ICD can save a person’s life, it also carries a risk of complications. The most common complication is an infection at the site of the ICD.

Other potential complications include bleeding, bruising, and pain at the implant site. Problems with the ICD leads are rare but have serious risks such as heart arrhythmias, stroke, and electrical shocks.

How to Prepare for an Implant

Preparation for implantation of a cardioverter defibrillator begins with a consultation with a cardiologist. The cardiologist will review the patient’s medical history and perform a physical examination. The cardiologist may order tests, such as an electrocardiogram to assess the patient’s risk for arrhythmias.

If the doctor determines that the patient is a candidate for an ICD, a cardiologist will refer the patient to a cardiac surgeon for the procedure. The surgeon will explain the Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator benefits and risks and answer any questions the patient may have. The patient will then need to sign a consent form.

What to Expect After the Procedure

Recovery from the procedure is usually pretty quick, and most people can go home the same day. Some people may experience bruising, soreness, or numbness around the incision site. Following the doctor’s instructions for incision, care is essential, and avoiding strenuous activity until the incision has healed.

Many people will have questions regarding issues that may occur on our daily life. If you have questions about using an ICD and driving, it is best to do research and talk to a specialist.

Modern Treatment for Heart Diseases

An Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) is a device placed under your chest’s skin. This device monitors your heart rate and can give your heart a shock if it detects a life-threatening arrhythmia. It can save people at risk for sudden cardiac death.

If you think you might benefit from an ICD, talk to your doctor about whether this device suits you.

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