Implantable Cardiac Defribrillator - Woodholme Cardiovascular Associates
What is an implantable cardiac defibrillator?
Your Cardiologist/Electrophysiologist may have referred you for an implantable cardiac defibrillator. These devices are usually indicated for patients at risk for lethal fast heart rates referred to as ventricular tachycardia (VT), ventricular fibrillation (VF), cardiac arrest, sudden cardiac death, or ventricular tachyarrhythmias.
What is an ICD?
Sudden cardiac arrest and other indications for ICD’s:
- Implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) is also often referred to as an AICD, Defibrillator or CRM device.
- Consists of a metal device which houses the battery/electronics and one,two or three leads which either pace or shock/defibrillate the heart.
- The leads are placed in various chambers within the heart.
- The ICD will shock or defibrillate your heart if you have a lethal ventricular tachyarrhythmia or sudden cardiac arrest.
- All ICD’s are also full functioning pacemakers and provide back-up pacing.
- The devices are typically two to three inches in diameter and ½” thick.
- ICD’s are most commonly placed in patients who are deemed to be high risk patients for sudden cardiac arrest.
- The majority of these patients have ICD’s implanted prior to their first event.
- Most patients have weak hearts due to either prior heart attacks, or may have weak heart muscle for various reasons.
- Some patients may require ICD’s if they have a condition referred to as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy or long QT syndrome. This is a congenital disorder and typically affects younger patients.
- 2 inch incision in the chest region.
- Surgery takes approximately 90 minutes for one and two lead systems.
- May take up to three hours for three lead systems.
- Anesthesia: Local and conscious sedation (twilight).
- The leads are threaded via either the subclavian/axillary/cephalic vein to the heart.
- Overnight stay.
- 1-2% risk of complications.
Daily Living with an ICD
- Dressing remains for up to 4 days post-implantation
- May shower once the dressing is removed. Tub bath or sponge bath until then.
- No lifting the affected side above the shoulder for one month.
- No lifting greater than five pounds with the affected side for one month.
- We encourage patients to be very active once the ICD has healed.
- Should carry the ICD ID card with you at all times.
- Inform any medical professional that you have an ICD.
- Inform security when walking through a metal detector that you have an ICD. Walking through the metal detector will not harm the ICD.
- ICD’s are not compatible with MRI scanners. You may have X-rays, CT scans and stress tests.
- You may use a microwave with an ICD.
- ICD’s are followed either in our clinic or your cardiologist clinic every 3 months.
- Most ICD’s last 4-6 years, however actual longevity may vary based on usage.