Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)
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Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances) and Automatic Cardioverter Defibrillator Implantation

Written by ColleenO, FoundHealth.

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small battery-operated device that monitors the heart’s rhythm and provides appropriate treatment. This tiny defibrillator can be surgically implanted in your chest to monitor your heart rhythm.

Some arrhythmias that may require an ICD implant include:

  • Bradycardia —heart beating too slowly
  • Ventricular tachycardia—heart beating too rapidly
  • Ventricular fibrillation—heart muscle not pumping, but just quivering

Effect of Automatic Cardioverter Defibrillator Implantation on Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

Most ICDs have both pacemaker and defibrillator functions. If the heart beats too slowly, the ICD can help the heart beat at a normal pace. If the heart begins to beat in a disorganized way, the device provides a shock to restore a normal rhythm.

Read more details about Automatic Cardioverter Defibrillator Implantation.

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have a defibrillator implanted, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Damage to the heart or lungs
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Inappropriate shocks or device malfunction

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Obesity
  • History of smoking
  • History of excess alcohol consumption
  • Bleeding or blood-clotting problems
  • Use of some medicines

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • You feel a shock
  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
  • Cough or severe nausea or vomiting

These symptoms are medical emergencies. Call 911 if:

  • You have chest pain or shortness of breath
  • You feel lightheaded or dizzy and do not feel a shock
  • You are still feeling symptoms after a shock
  • You feel three or more shocks in a row

In case of an emergency, CALL 911.

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