Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Methodist DeBakey Cardiology Associates


A defibrillator (also known as an implantable cardioverter defibrillator or ICD) is a device that is implanted in your chest or abdomen to monitor your heart rate. If your heartbeat ever becomes dangerously fast or dangerously slow, the defibrillator will deliver a shock to help restore the heart's normal rhythm.

Like pacemakers, implantable defibrillators have two basic parts:

  • The defibrillator's main unit, which contains a battery and a tiny computer
  • One or more leads, wires that are threaded through the veins to heart

There are several different types of defibrillators available, and your doctor will talk to you about which option is best for treating your condition.

Why would a defibrillator be necessary?

If your heartbeat ever becomes dangerously fast or dangerously slow, immediate action is necessary to avoid serious, even fatal, complications. With a defibrillator, this action can take place instantly because the device is always present and always ready.

Your doctor may want to discuss a defibrillator if you have a more severe case of arrhythmia, heart failure or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Some modern defibrillators can also act as pacemakers.

How is the defibrillator implanted?

Defibrillator implantation surgery is very similar to pacemaker implantation surgery.

What can I expect after a defibrillator is implanted?

Your recovery from defibrillator implantation surgery and your lifestyle afterward are very similar to what you can expect after pacemaker implantation surgery.

Learn about other implantable devices:

For more information about Methodist DeBakey Cardiology Associates or to make an appointment, please call us at 713-441-1100 or 888-361-4375, or contact us online.