Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)

An Implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or ICD, delivers therapies to treat life-threatening heart rhythm disorders, such as ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, which are both forms of rapid heart rhythms. The ICD is implanted inside your body and works automatically.

Your medical condition determines the type of ICD that you receive. Your doctor will recommend the particular model of ICD that will best treat your rhythm disorder.

Each model varies somewhat in its size, features and capabilities. There are many options in programming your ICD to treat and interrupt your rapid heart rhythm. Your doctor will program your ICD to deliver the best therapy for you.

When to call your doctor

Phone your doctor or nurse if you:

  • Receive a shock from the ICD.
  • Have symptoms of rapid heart rhythm that last longer than three minutes.
  • Notice any swelling, warmth or drainage at any incision.
  • Notice anything unusual, such as unexplained new symptoms or the return of symptoms you had before you received the ICD.