Guidant Implanted Defibrillators FAQFREE Case Review
What is an ICD?
ICD stands for Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator, a small computer that monitors heartbeat and provides stimulation to prevent fibrillation.
What is ventricular fibrillation?
Ventricular fibrillation occurs when heart muscles contract out of sync with each other. Blood circulation stops after a few seconds, causing brain damage and death within a few minutes.
What is defibrillation?
Defibrillation is a process used in medical emergencies to terminate ventricular fibrillation. An electric shock can “reset” the natural rhythm of the heart, restoring blood pressure and heartbeat.
What is an arrhythmia?
An arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat. When the heart beats too slow it is called bradycardia, too fast it is called tachycardia. Either of these conditions can cause fibrillation, which can lead to sudden cardiac death.
How does an ICD work?
An ICD works by monitoring heart rate to anticipate an arrhythmia. If the heart begins to beat abnormally, the computer issues an electric shock to prevent fibrillation. Ventricular tachycardia sometimes precedes fibrillation, but is dangerous in its own right. ICDs also work as pacemakers for bradycardia, to ensure regular heartbeats.
Who needs an ICD?
ICDs are usually implanted in people who have a history of cardiac arrest, previous episodes of ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, people with hearts that pump too little blood with each beat, and those who have inherited heart abnormalities.
Are ICDs safe?
ICDs are some of the most carefully crafted precision medical devices ever designed. They have a normal success rate of more than 90%, so when they fail it is of utmost importance to understand why.
Why is Guidant recalling so many of their products?
Guidant is recalling several different models of ICDs because of faulty construction or programming. Because tens of thousands of people around the world rely on these devices to keep them alive, any form of malfunction is life-threatening. Guidant knew of some of these flaws, but still allowed patients to use their products.
I have a Guidant model ICD, what should I do?
People with Guidant model ICDs should contact their medical professionals immediately.