External defibrillators can restore a regular heartbeat even after a dangerous arrhythmia disrupts it. But few victims receive care in time. A new study confirms that internal devices can prevent these episodes from happening.
Former VP Dick Cheney’s revelation that fear of assassination prompted him to have his doctors disable the remote feature on his ICD device has raised questions about the security of ICDs.
The FDA approved a new defibrillator with leads that are fed under the skin rather than threaded through veins and into the heart. These leads are less likely to break and easier to remove.
It’s all in the programming. Patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) that are set to be more discerning before shocking the heart back into rhythm have better survival rates.
Are implantable heart devices safe?
Your ICD (a small device, about the size of a pager, placed below the collarbone) continuously monitors your heart’s rhythm. If your heart beats too quickly, the ICD issues a lifesaving jot of electricity to restore the heart’s normal rhythm and prevent sudden cardiac death.
CRT implants pacemaker-like devices that align the rhythm of the right and left ventricles of a failing heart.
Sudden cardiac arrest is not a heart attack or myocardial infraction. It occurs when the electrical system to the heart suddenly produces a very irregular heart rhythm.
Wearable cardioverter-defibrillators (WCD) are used by patients who have a previous condition (like a heart transplant) that makes them ineligible for implantable cardioverters.