Implantable cardioverter/defibrillator is commonly referred to as an ICD. This device continuously monitors the heart rhythm and is implanted in patients who have had ventricular fibrillation (VF) or ventricular tachycardia (VT) or patients who are felt to be at high risk for these sometimes fatal rhythms.
These devices can also act like a standard pacemaker and pace the heart if it is to slow. When an abnormally fast rate is detected by the ICD, it either electrically paces the heart very fast or deliveries a small electrical shock the heart to convert the heart back to normal rhythm. If a shock is delivered it will be felt by the patient as a strong jolt in the chest.
If a shock is felt call your cardiologist immediately. If you experience multiple shocks admission to the hospital is usually required. The device is implanted in an operating room under deep sedation. Patients are discharged the following day. The incision is like the insertion of a regular pacemaker.

Pre and post instructions

Pre instructions:

  • Lab work will need to be drawn several days prior to procedure.
  • Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before.
  • Take no medications the morning of procedure.
  • You need someone to drive you home or make arrangements for transportation.
  • Wear clothing that is easy to get off/on.

Post procedure:

  • However, you may be given a prescription for a mild pain reliever.
  • You may not shower for 48 hours after the procedure and you need to keep it clean and dry.
  • Avoid excessively exerting the arm on the side to the pacer insertion for six weeks.
  • Regular checks will be needed for your device at your pacer clinic.

What to expect:

An IV will be started for fluids and medications. A mild sedative will be given through the IV per an anesthesiologist. You will also have adhesive skin electrodes applied to the chest and then attached to a heart monitor.
A 2-inch incision is made under the collarbone. The pacer wires are then inserted into a vein and advanced through that vein under fluoroscopic guidance into the heart. The other end of the pacer wire is than attached to the generator that is implanted under the skin at the incision site. The site is than sutured or surgical glue will be used to close the incision. You will be discharge the following day from the hospital after a chest x-ray and your ICD is checked by the pacer rep.
Aldrich Cardiovascular Institute
Call for an appointment:  941-359-8900