Your heart is a muscle that works like a pump. It has four chambers, two upper chambers called atria and two lower chambers called ventricles. Your heart’s pumping energy comes from a built-in electrical conduction system that must pump together in harmony to produced a normal heartbeat. Any malfunction in these signals can make your heart beat too quickly, too slowly, or at an uneven rate. This causes an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm.
An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is a small battery-powered implanted device under the skin of the upper chest capable of correcting life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias such as ventricular fibrillation. It works by detecting abnormal heart rhythms and delivering low-energy to high-energy shocks to return the heart to a regular heart rhythm. Current device batteries last about 6–10 years, after which the ICD needs to be replaced.
At Heart Center of Nevada we have specially trained cardiologists in electrophysiology that will consult with you if an implanted device may be needed. They will discuss with you the need for an ICD if you are at risk of having a life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia related to:
- A ventricular arrhythmia
- Brugada syndrome
- Long QT syndrome
- Heart attack
- A survived sudden cardiac arrest
- A congenital heart disease or other underlying conditions for sudden cardiac arrest
You will need to schedule regular ICD checkups as determined by your cardiologist after the implantation. These can be completed in our office at your convenience. The chip inside the device will be connected a special computer by one of our technicians to ensure it is functioning properly. During the visit, the technician and cardiologist will:
- Check the battery status
- Review any heart rhythm events that may have occurred since your last appointment
- Check that your device is set to levels appropriate for your needs and make any necessary adjustments
- Assess any symptoms, questions, or concerns you may be having
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