Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators
What is a Defibrillator?
A defibrillator is a device that applies pulses of electrical energy to the heart during life-threatening episodes such as ventricular fibrillation, cardiac arrhythmias, or pulseless ventricular tachycardia. These sudden episodes, while caused by different factors, cause the heart to suddenly lose its natural rhythym and slip into a dangerously fast, slow, uneven, or quivering pattern. Defibrillation is a way to restore the heart's naural rhythm and can save the patient's life.
What are the different types of Defibrillators?
Defibrillators can provide electricity to the heart during times of sudden cardiac episodes from either an external device or an internal (implantable) unit. External manual defibrillators are common in hospitals and ambulances and are only used by trained meddical staff. Automated Emergency Defibrillators, or AEDs, are external units designed for emergency use by someone with no medical training; they are commonly found in shopping centers and other public areas. The unit is designed to read the victim's heart rate and deliver a shock if necessary.
Internal devices - called Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators, or ICDs - are implanted inside the chest cavity and are designed to deliver shocks when needed to control life-threatening or irregular heartbeats. Using wires with electrodes on the ends connected to the heart chambers, the device monitors the patient's heart rate and delivers low-voltage pulses of electricity to return the heart to a normal rhythm. If the heart continues to beat irregularly, the ICD will deliver higher-energy shocks to restore the body's normal heart rate. A pacemaker is similar to an ICD, but is only able to deliver lower-energy pulses; therefore an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator may be better suited to more dangerous heart conditions.
Who is elegible for an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator?
An ICD is an excellent treatment option for patients who have experienced ventricular tachycardia, a condition in which the heart rate rises ot over 100 beats per minute and may beat irregularly. An ICD may also be well-suited to patients with coronary artery disease, an enlarged or thickened heart muscle, or some genetic heart defects that cause abnormal heart rates in people with no other symptoms of heart problems.
How to Schedule an Appointment
To learn more about ICD implantation or to learn more about your heart health options, please call 305-674-2273 or Contact Us online.