Arrhythmia, that is, the irregular beating of the heart is a condition which can turn fatal and can even cause sudden death. An Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) is a device that is planted near the collar bone. It sends electric shocks through the heart to stabilize the erratic beating back to normal.
A similar device known as the Subcutaneous Implantable Defibrillator (SICD), works alike but is placed just under the chest skin.
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More Information on Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator
Doctors may recommend the insertion of an ICD if
The patient has already suffered a case of fatal irregular heartbeat rhythm and may be at the risk of another.
The patient has suffered from a fatal irregular heartbeat rhythm, but tests show susceptibility. Such a case may occur in patients with Cardiomyopathy (Heart muscle disease), Long QT Syndrome (causes disturbances in heart rhythm) and Brugada Syndrome (causes disturbances in heart rhythm and prevents the flow of sodium ions).
The patient suffers from some other type of heart conditions, such as risk of a heart failure.
The patient has had other types of treatment for the condition, but with unsuccessful results.
Generally before the surgery following standard tests are done
EKG (records heart beat)
Echocardiography (uses sound waves to form a moving image of the heart)
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator surgery is a minor one, and is done under the influence of local anaesthesia.
Firstly, the area where the ICD will be placed is numbed
The doctor then inserts the ICD wires through a vein
An x-ray movie helps him to thread the wires correctly
An incision is made and the device is placed. The device is tested and the incision is sutured.
After the surgery, the patient is kept under hospital care for about a day or two. During this period the heart beat is regulated and the ICD device is checked for effective functioning. Patients are recommended to arrange for a relative or friend to drive them home.
There can be swelling and pain over a few weeks, in the region where the ICD is placed, but it goes away with time.
After ICD implantation, the doctor will advise
Avoiding strenuous activity for 1 to 2 months
Avoiding prolonged contact with digital and electric devices like cell phones, household appliances, electric generators and high-tension wires
Avoiding contact sports, for instance football or basketball. A direct hit in the chest region may cause the device to dysfunction.
Risk and Complication
The risks of ICD are
The device can sometimes dysfunction or a damaged wire can lead to unwanted electrical shocks.
Inflammation, bruising and infection in the region where the device is placed.
Bleeding from the region where the incision is made
Damage of a blood vessel, nerve or even the heart
Lung collapse (escape of air from the lungs)
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