Heart Valve Replacement
What it’s for
Some people are in danger of developing a dangerously fast or irregular heart rhythm that can lead to death within minutes.
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or ICD, is a device that can detect abnormal heart rhythms and then shock your heart back to its regular rhythm. ICDs have saved many people from sudden cardiac death.
How it’s done
ICDs are surgically implanted by an electrophysiologist, a doctor who specializes in heart rhythm problems. Patient is given medication through an IV to help relax, but remains awake during the procedure. An anesthetic is also given to numb the skin at the site of the incision. The heart rate and blood pressure are monitored throughout the procedure.
An incision is made just under the left collarbone. The leads (wires) from the ICD are directed down veins until they make contact with the heart. The generator of the ICD is then placed beneath the skin.
The surgery to place an ICD typically takes from 2-4 hours.
If the ICD detects an abnormal heart rhythm, the generator provides an electrical shock that travels down the leads and to the heart. This shock restores the heart to its regular rhythm.
Complications from the placement of an ICD are rare. They include the following:
· Allergic reaction to medications
· Bleeding or bruising
· Damage to veins
· Bleeding around the heart
· Blood leaking in the heart at the site of the leads