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Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator ICD

An ICD is a device that helps people with dangerously heart rhythms. An ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) is a small device that helps keep your heart beating at a steady rate. It can reduce the risk of your heart stopping (cardiac arrest).


Who needs an ICD?

You get an ICD when there's a high risk that your heart could stop beating (cardiac arrest). This may be because you've already had a cardiac arrest, or because your heart condition means you’re at risk of having one. Heart conditions that increase your risk of cardiac arrest are: dangerous documented heart rhythms (arrhythmia), cardiomyopathy, heart failure.


How does an ICD work?

The ICD is usually fitted in your chest. It checks your heart beat all the time.


If your heart beat is too slow, some ICDs are programmed to correct it (like a pacemaker). This is called pacing. If your heart is in danger of stopping, the ICD can deliver an electric shock to help it return to a normal rate. This is called defibrillation.


The ICD is made up of: a pulse generator – a small box, about the size of a business card, which contains a long-lasting battery and an electronic circuit. It is small enough to sit in the palm of your hand

one or more leads that connect the pulse generator to your heart.


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