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Includes Expert Content
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
mebsb posted:
Our cardiologist told my husband that he needs an ICD. I have done some research and found that there has been problems with the leads.

Can you provide information on ICD's?

Thank you.
cardiostarusa1 responded:

Heart Rythm Society

Patients and Public Information Center

Implanable Cardiodefibrillators (ICDs)

Unfortunately, problems, from time-to-time, can arise with electronic medical devices such as ICDs, which includes unit malfunction or failure, as well as lead dislodgement, fracture or erosion.

Beyond that, It is often said that an implantable cardiodefibrillator (ICD) is like having a rescue squad inside your chest.

As demonstrated in clinical studies, and as deemed applicable (meets the current criteria/guidelines) to the patient, in some cases, especially in those with a low (moderate) or very low (severe) LVEF/heart failure, an ICD can improve the outcome (especially if the heart's electrical system goes haywire).

Patient resources

Implantable com

Website provides a focus for information related to the field of implantable pacing and defibrillation.

Pacemaker Club

Our purpose is to help cardiac pacemaker and implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) recipients meet, share information and support each other.

LifeBeat Online

An e-newsletter created to help people with cardiac devices and heart or blood vessel conditions live full, active lives.


Best of luck to your husband and you down the road of life.

Take care,


WebMD member (since 8/99)



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January 20, 2012

"Recalled" Riata ICD Leads: Brainstorming Conference Aims For Guidance

_ . _

Post-surgical complications of ICD therapy includes:

Lead complications such as lead "dislodgement"(movement of the leads out of their proper position) or lead fracture, which can cause loss of effectiveness of the ICD system, or inappropriate shocks (**see below).

Movement of the ICD generator out of its proper position, which can cause pain, skin erosion or bleeding.

Inappropriate shocks, which cause pain, and can produce psychological trauma.

**The most common of these complications are inappropriate shocks. ICD shocks hurt. While the shocks are designed to be delivered only when a life-threatening arrhythmia occurs, about 20% of people with ICDs at one time or another will receive shocks for other reasons - so-called "inappropriate" shocks.

These inappropriate shocks can be caused by any very rapid heart rhythm such as atrial fibrilation (AF) or by the rapid heart rate (tachycardia, heart rate over 100 beats per minute) that you get from strenuous exercise.

_ . _

Learn about the heart's delicate and precise electrical conduction system

Animated Tutorial

- -

As applicable to the patient

WebMD/Cleveland Clinic

Living with Heart Failure

American Heart Association - Live and Learn

Forum: Heart Failure



"Be a questioning patient. TALK to your DOCTOR and ASK QUESTIONS. Studies show that patients who ask the most questions, and are most assertive, get the best results. Be vigilant and speak up!"

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

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jennysmith01 responded:
An ICD (or implantable cardioverter defibrillator) is very small device that is inserted just under the collar bone of the patient. It is made up of a pulse generator and some electrode leads which are passed through the veins to the heart. The problem with the leads is when there is infection in or near the heart. The leads can be replaced if there is an evidence of insulation failure in imaging or in the case of abnormal electrical function. The decision whether the leads should be removed or not depends on the patient as well as the physician's experience.
how to use a defibrillator
James Beckerman, MD, FACC responded:
ICD's are devices that are placed underneath the skin in the upper chest. They are attached to leads (wires) that pass through blood vessels toward the heart, where they are attached from the inside. Placement of a defibrillator occurs through a small (about two inch) incision beneath the collarbone, often on the left side.

Defibrillators can sense when the heart is having an abnormal rhythm which may be life-threatening. The device responds by either stimulating the heart to beat quickly (to overwhelm the heart's fast rhythm) or shocking the heart back to normal rhythm. The goal is prevent a life-threatening situation. Defibrillators are often recommended to people with inherited cardiac conditions that increase their risk, or acquired conditions such as heart attacks.

All the best to your husband. Take care.

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