What are defibrillators implanted for?FREE Case Review
The heart is at once a very simple but very complicated organ. It is essentially a large pump that circulates blood throughout the vascular network to provide oxygen for each of the millions of cells that make up the body. Heartrate is regulated by electrical signals from the brain. The brain analyzes the condition of the body, measures how much oxygen is needed to maintain cellular respiration, and sends signals to the heart to adjust for increased activity. In healthy people, the signals from the brain reach the heart quickly, but when the pathways are damaged because of disease or injury, even normal activity can cause an abnormal heart beat doctors call an arrhythmia.
Internal Cardiac Defibrillators, or ICDs, are miracles of modern technology that allow people with dangerous heart conditions to live a relatively normal life. Without these devices, people with certain types of heart conditions would live in constant fear of a cardiac event, which could possibly result in serious injury or even death. A small computer attached to a battery detects an arrhythmia and sends a small shock to the heart to return it to the proper rhythm. In some cases ICDs also “pace” the heart, sending gentle signals to the keep the heart beating properly, but while these pacing signals are rarely felt, the shock has been described as a kick to the chest. ICDs also collect information about any time they deliver a shock to the heart, so that that an electrophysiologist can study the situation and address any other issues involved.