What is an Implantable cardiac defibrillators?
A defibrillator is a specialized pacemaker that can not only be used to treat slow heart beats, but in certain people can treat life threatening fast heart beats.It can terminate these rhythms by pacing rapidly or ultimately delivering a shock. The device is larger than a pacemaker and is inserted in the same way, with conscious sedation under local anaesthetic . The defibrillator may need to be checked to make sure it is working and can terminate severe rhythm problems. This is performed under a short general anaesthetic.
After implant ,driving and sport is restricted for a short period of time, but most people are able to resume normal activity and a normal lifestyle once the device is stable and checks are normal. Most devices can be home monitored, which adds an element of safety to the devices and alerts your cardiologist about premature lead failure, arrhythmias and battery status remotely. The newer devices are MRI compatible
You will be required to have periodic defibrillator checks at an outpatient clinic. These checks are performed in a clinic using computers to communicate with the defibrillator. The devices can be programmed in a number of ways and are often individualized to your specific needs and lifestyle. You will be given a defibrillator identification card which is the size of a credit card and should be kept with you at all times. If you have any further queries , these should be discussed with your cardiologist.