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Electrophysiology Services

Implantable Cardioverter - Defibrillator (ICD)

What is it?  An implantable device used to monitor and reset a heart that is beating too fast.  Much like a pacemaker, if it monitors irregularities in heart rate, it will send out electrical shocks to reset the heart.  Also called an internal cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).

What happens during the procedure?  ICD insertion requires a brief hospital stay. An IV will be started to deliver fluids and medication, to ensure your comfort and relaxation throughout the procedure.  The area below your collarbone will be shaved and cleansed.  Throughout the procedure you will be connected to several monitors that will provide constant analysis of your heart rate and electrical activity.  The electrophysiologist will make a small incision below the collarbone and a pocket-like space is created under the skin to house a power supply generator.  Using X-ray guidance, wires are advanced through a vein in the upper chest to the heart.  The wire tip is attached to the heart muscle and generator.  The generator is then programmed to monitor the heart rate and “shock” the heart if an abnormal ventricular rhythm is detected.  Following insertion, the skin is closed with sutures, staples or steri-strips.

Preparing for the Procedure:

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure.  No caffeine products 12 hour prior to the procedure.
  • Take your normal medications as instructed by your physician, and take your morning medications with a sip of water.
  • Make sure your physician is aware if you are taking Coumadin or Plavix.
  • If you take diabetic medications, ask your physician what does you should take the day of the procedure.

Helpful Information:

  • Please be aware that an overnight at the hospital may be required.
  • Following your procedure you will not be able to drive home and should make arrangements to be driven by a friend or family member.  Additionally, you will have driving restrictions for several days after the procedure.
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