What Is an Implantable Defibrillator?
An implantable defibrillator (ICD) is a small device that's placed in your chest or abdomen. An implantable defibrillator uses electrical pulses or shocks to help control life-threatening, irregular heartbeats, especially those that could lead the heart to suddenly stop beating (sudden cardiac arrest). If the heart stops beating, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. This usually causes death if it's not treated in minutes. Implantable defibrillators are typically implanted by cardiologists called,electrophysiologists.
Comparison of an Implantable Defibrillator and Pacemaker
The illustration compares a defibrillator (ICD) and a pacemaker. Figure A shows the location and general size of an defibrillator in the upper chest. The wires with electrodes on the ends are inserted into the heart through a vein in the upper chest. Figure B shows the location and general size of a dual chamber pacemaker in the upper chest. The wires with electrodes on the ends are inserted into the heart through a vein in the upper chest.