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Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) Insertion 

An ICD monitors heart rhythm and sends an electric shock to the heart if an abnormal heartbeat is detected. An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a battery-powered device that is placed under the skin and connected to the heart with thin wires. It keeps track of heart rate and if it detects an abnormal rhythm, it shocks the heart. This electrical current prompts the heart to resume a normal heartbeat. Tampa General Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute is home to a highly specialized team of electrophysiologists, cardiologists and other physicians who work together to deliver world-class ICD implant procedures to our patients. Our team also provides follow-up care and careful device monitoring to help our patients lead happy, healthy lives post-implant. 

Conditions Treated  

ICDs are often recommended for patients with: 

  • Ventricular fibrillation 
  • Ventricular tachycardia 
  • A previous instance of cardiac arrest 
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy 
  • Enlarged heart muscles 
  • Coronary artery disease 
  • A history of heart attack 
  • Genetic heart conditions, such as Long QT syndrome and Brugada syndrome 

Treatment Details 

An ICD contains wires and a pulse generator, which is a battery-powered device that houses a tiny computer. The wires monitor the heart’s rhythm and send information to the pulse generator to deliver a shock if the heart starts beating abnormally. When this happens, the electrical shock is carried from the pulse generator, through the wires and to the heart. 

ICD insertion procedures at TGH take place in an electrophysiology lab where we can closely monitor our patients’ vital signs. Here’s how the procedure works: 

  • First, a local anesthetic is used to numb the chest (the patient is also typically given medication to make them drowsy). 
  • Next, small incisions are made in the chest. 
  • After that, the ICD is inserted through the incision and into a vein, using fluoroscopy to guide it to the heart. 
  • Then, the wires of the ICD are connected to the heart muscle. 
  • Finally, the ICD is placed into a pocket under the skin in the upper chest. 

Once the ICD surgery has been completed, the electrophysiologist will conduct lead function tests to ensure the device is working as intended.  

What to Expect  

As you might imagine, life with an ICD takes getting used to. There will be regular follow-ups with your cardiologist to monitor your condition and check on the device. You’ll also be encouraged to make efforts to lead a healthier lifestyle by quitting smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet and getting regular exercise. 

Effectiveness

ICDs are highly effective for patients who have survived cardiac arrest or are at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. They are a safe and reliable treatment, and when you turn to the highly qualified team at TGH for an ICD insertion procedure, you can count on top-notch care from some of the most experienced and skilled physicians in the field of cardiology.