Internal Cardiac Defibrillator

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Internal cardiac defibrillator (ICD) is a device that is inserted within the body. It is designed in a way to recognize certain types of abnormal heart rhythms also called as Arrhythmias and thus correct them. Defibrillators continuously monitor the heart rhythm in order to detect Arrhythmias such as Ventricular tachycardia that is the rapid regular beating of the ventricles and Ventricular fibrillation that is the rapid irregular beating of the ventricles. These ventricular Arrhythmias impair the pumping efficiency of the heart and greatly raise the risks of fainting and sudden cardiac arrest which is life threatening.

A heart defibrillator is about the size of a mini cassette which can be implanted within the body by far less invasive techniques than in the past, for the fact that it is more technologically advanced, and smaller. The main purpose of implanting an internal cardiac defibrillator is to correct the heart rhythm by delivering precisely calibrated and timed electrical shocks, whenever needed in order to restore a normal heartbeat.

How ICD’s work?

The process of implantation of an ICD is similar to the implantation of a pacemaker. ICDs are often considered to be permanent safeguards against sudden abnormalities. These ICD’S include electrode wire(s) which pass through a vein to the right chambers of the heart, usually being lodged in the apex of the right ventricle. This ICD is positioned just under the skin and outside the ribcage. It can be placed easily and is less invasive.

 As discussed earlier, an ICD is a device that uses electrical pulses or shocks to help control life-threatening, irregular heartbeats, especially those that could cause sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Sudden cardiac arrest is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If the heart stops beating, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs and thus leads to sudden death if not treated in minutes.  This can be achieved by implanting an Internal Cardiac Defibrillator.  An ICD is placed in your chest or abdomen.

Once the ICD’s are implanted into the patient’s system, the rhythm and the heart rate can be constantly monitored. This is achieved with the help of the electrical shock, when the electrical manifestation of the heart activity exceeds the preset number. There are many modern ICDs use a combination of various methods to determine whether a fast rhythm is normal, and whether it’s ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation.

An ICD has wires with electrodes that connect to one or more of your heart’s chambers. The ICD will continually monitor your heart rhythm. If the device detects an abnormal heart rhythm, it will use low or high energy electrical pulses to restore a normal rhythm.

An ICD is implanted in to the body with the help of a surgery that usually takes less than an hours The most common problem with ICDs is that they can sometimes give electrical pulses that aren’t needed. However the risks associated with ICD’s are rare. These  include infection and bleeding.

Except for such risks, the advantages of having implanted an Internal Cardiac Defibrillator are more than its drawbacks. However, your doctor may ask you to avoid vigorous activities and heavy lifting for about a month after ICD surgery. Most people return to their normal activities within a few days of having the surgery. 

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