An Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator is a small, battery powered, pager size device.
Once the ICD is implanted, the leads monitor the heart rate. If the ICD detects ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation, it sends out a controlled burst of impulses (called "overdrive" pacing). If this does not work, the ICD "shocks" the heart to restore a normal rhythm. ICDs are very effective in preventing sudden deaths and can be implanted with a low rate of complications.
The defibrillator is implanted beneath the skin, near the collarbone. The leads are placed inside the heart or on its surface and are attached to the defibrillator.
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