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A heart defibrillator, also known as an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), is a heart device used to monitor your heart rate that is implanted in your chest. If your heartbeat becomes too fast, the defibrillator delivers a shock to help restore the heart's normal rhythm.
The following heart conditions may require an implanted heart defibrillator:
- Arrhythmia, such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation
- Heart failure
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
Expertise Implanting the Right Heart Defibrillator for You
An electrophysiologist who specializes in implanting heart devices will implant your heart defibrillator.
During the procedure, you receive local anesthesia and your electrophysiologist will make an incision in your chest. Using imaging technology for guidance, your electrophysiologist inserts the defibrillator through this incision. The surgeon then attaches the defibrillators leads, which are wires threaded through the veins to your heart.
After surgery, your doctor may restrict certain strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting or contact sports, for several weeks. Most people return to full and active lives within four to six weeks.
You will be required to have regular follow-up sessions in the months after surgery to make sure there are no irregularities or complications with your implanted heart defibrillator.
See your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:
- Significant shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Fever or chills
- Failure to heal at the incision site