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replacing defibrillator battery
HolleyQuintana posted:
My father has a Medtronic ICD and it is time to replace the battery. He would like to know what would happen if he just didn't have it replaced?
cardiostarusa1 responded:

It will simply not work if/when the battery goes dead. No life-saving shock can be delivered to the heart if/when called upon. With a low or weak battery, the ICD may not be able to deliver an adequate shock level.

It is often said that an implantable cardiodefibrillator (ICD) is like having a rescue squad inside your chest. But what happens if the battery in the rescue squad's vehicle is too weak to start it or dead? You get the picture.

Best of luck to your father down the road of life.

Take care,


WebMD member (since 8/99)



WebMD/WebMD forums DOES NOT provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
billh99 responded:

Boston, MA - Should everyone with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) automatically get a new generator when the device's power reserves are nearing bottom?
Not necessarily, according to a Perspective in the January 26, 2012 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine [1 >. "From both patient and societal perspectives, the expense and uncertainty of ICD therapy argue for a more considered and nuanced approach to generator replacement," write the authors, led by Dr Daniel B Kramer (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA). "Evaluation of the clinical and ethical aspects of ICD replacement is long overdue."

I don't know why you are asking this question, but your father and his doctor might want to look up that article and discuss it.

But don't forget that some ICD's also include pacemaker functions and that might be a more critical requirement.
cdp2011 replied to billh99's response:
I know somoeone who had his replaced and before that he passed out and was dead and they had to revive him!! He was sent to boston to have it replaced!!
lulululu4 responded:
How long does it tke to replace the battery and do you have to be anethisized? I am 83 and getting ready for this procedure, Thank you.
cardiostarusa1 replied to lulululu4's response:

Guide to Generator Change of a Pacemaker/ICD

What if the Battery Runs Low?

The battery of a pacemaker or ICD is an integral part of the circuitry. Therefore, the entire device is replaced. The pacemaker/ICD leads that extend into the heart are disconnected from the old generator and connected to the new generator.......

During the Procedure

You will be given sedating medication through your IV. Local anesthesia will be injected under the skin where the pacemaker will be placed. During the surgery you will be drowsy. You will be given medication to prevent any discomfort......

Take care,


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