An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is a small battery-powered device
placed in your chest to monitor your heart rhythm and detect irregular heartbeats.
An ICD can deliver electric shocks via one or more wires connected to your heart to
fix an abnormal heart rhythm.
ICDs detect and stop abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias). The device continuously monitors your heartbeat and delivers electrical pulses to restore a normal heart rhythm when necessary. An ICD differs from a pacemaker — another implantable device used to help control abnormal heart rhythms.
You've likely seen doctors in hospitals "shock" an unconscious person out of cardiac arrest with electrified paddles. An ICD does the same thing only internally and automatically when it detects an abnormal heart rhythm.
An ICD is surgically placed under your skin, usually below your left collarbone. One or more flexible, insulated wires (leads) run from the ICD through your veins to your heart.
Because the ICD constantly monitors for abnormal heart rhythms and instantly tries to correct them, it helps when your heart stops beating (cardiac arrest), even when you are far from the hospital.
Indication for ICD
You're a candidate for an ICD if you've had sustained ventricular tachycardia, survived a cardiac arrest or fainted from a ventricular arrhythmia. You might also benefit from an ICD if you have: