- What Is
- Side Effects
What is an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD)?
An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is an electronic device that tracks the heart rate and restores a normal rhythm if required. It is the first-line treatment for patients who are at risk of sudden cardiac death. ICD is useful in reducing the death rate amongst patients suffering from:
Why do I need an ICD?
ICD is recommended if you had the following conditions:
How does an ICD work?
It detects and corrects the abnormal rhythm of the heart. It works 24 hours a day. ICD works in the following ways:
- For slow heartbeats, it works as a pacemaker (to help control abnormal heart rhythms) and sends small signals to the heart.
- For faster heartbeats, it sends one or more large shocks (defibrillation) to correct the abnormal rhythm.
- New devices of ICD offer sophisticated functions and better control of heartbeats.
How long can you live with an implanted defibrillator?
You need to live with an ICD for the rest of your life. Hence, it is important to have regular check-ups and monitoring every three months to ensure the proper functioning of an ICD. You can resume a near-normal lifestyle.
You have to be aware of machines or activities that can affect your ICD (e.g., airport security machines or TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machines. Machines with strong magnetic fields can disturb an ICD.
Ask your physician regarding the dos and don’ts after an ICD implantation.
What are the side effects of a defibrillator?
The side effects of placing an ICD are:
- Arteriovenous fistula (an abnormal connection between the artery and the vein)
- Blood clots in the arteries or veins
- Injury to the lung, a collapsed lung, or bleeding in the lung cavities
- Developing a hole in the blood vessels
- Infection of the system
- Bleeding from the pocket
- High defibrillation shock or failure to defibrillate
- Rejection phenomena
- Oversensing or undersensing the heartbeats can lead to shocks or failure in treatment respectively
- Surgical complications at the incision site such as bleeding, infection, inflammation, and blood clots
- Obstruction of the major vein (superior vena cava) of the heart
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Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)Congestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, myocarditis, and cardiomyopathies are just a few potential causes of congestive heart failure. Signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure may include fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, angina, and edema. Physical examination, patient history, blood tests, and imaging tests are used to diagnose congestive heart failure. Treatment of heart failure consists of lifestyle modification and taking medications to decrease fluid in the body and ease the strain on the heart. The prognosis of a patient with congestive heart failure depends on the stage of the heart failure and the overall condition of the individual.
Coronary Heart Disease Screening Tests (CAD)
Coronary heart disease or coronary heart disease (CAD) screening tests can be used to potentially prevent a heart attack or cardiac event in a person without heart disease symptoms, and can assist in diagnosing heart disease in individuals with heart disease symptoms. Examples of coronary heart disease tests include:
- electrocardiogram (ECC, EKG),
- exercise stress test,
- radionuclide stress test,
- stress echocardiography,
- pharmacologic stress test,
- CT coronary angiogram, and
- coronary angiogram.
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)A heart attack happens when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack can cause chest pain, heart failure, and electrical instability of the heart.
Heart Attack Symptoms and Early Warning Signs
Recognizing heart attack symptoms and signs can help save your life or that of someone you love. Some heart attack symptoms, including left arm pain and chest pain, are well known but other, more nonspecific symptoms may be associated with a heart attack. Nausea, vomiting, malaise, indigestion, sweating, shortness of breath, and fatigue may signal a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms and signs in women may differ from those in men.
Heart Attack vs. HeartburnHeartburn is a symptom of another disease or medical problem and can be described as a feeling of burning in the chest accompanied by symptoms of nausea, vomiting, or a sour taste or food stuck in the back of the throat. Heart attack occurs when an artery in the heart is completely blocked by a blood clot, which causes that portion of heart muscle to die. Heart attack also has symptoms of chest pain, nausea, and vomiting, however, other warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack are unusual weakness or fatigue, and persistent and/or increased severity of symptoms over a few minutes. Heart attack is a life threatening emergency. If you think you or someone you are with is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately for urgent medical treatment. It may save your life.
Heart Attack vs. Stroke Symptoms, Differences, and Similarities
Heart attack usually is caused by a clot that stops blood flow supplying oxygen to an area of heart muscle, which results in heart muscle death. Stroke or "brain attack" is caused by a loss of blood supply to the brain (usually a blood clot) or by hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding within the brain), which results in brain tissue death. Both heart attack and stroke usually come on suddenly, produce similar symptoms, can be disabling, and can be fatal.
The classic symptoms and warning signs of heart attack are different.
Classic heart attack warning signs are chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, pain that radiates to the shoulders, back, arms, belly, jaw, or teeth, sweating, fainting, and nausea and vomiting. Moreover, woman having a heart attack may have additional symptoms like abdominal pain or discomfort, dizziness, clammy skin, and moderate to severe fatigue.
The classic symptoms and warning signs that a person is having a stroke are confusion or loss of consciousness, sudden severe headache, speech problems, problems seeing out of one or both eyes, and numbness or weakness of only one side of the body. Moreover, a woman having a stroke may have additional warning symptom and signs like shortness of breath, disorientation, agitation, behavioral changes, weakness, nausea, vomiting, seizures, and hiccups.
Recognition of stroke symptoms is vital for emergency treatment. The acronym "FAST" stands for recognition of Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and a Time for action.
If you experience the symptoms heart attack or stroke (FAST) or see them develop in another person, then contact 911 immediately.
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to the heart. Heart disease can lead to heart attack. Risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history
Angina, shortness of breath, and sweating are just a few symptoms that may indicate a heart attack. Treatment of heart disease involves control of heart disease risk factors through lifestyle changes, medications, and/or stenting or bypass surgery. Heart disease can be prevented by controlling heart disease risk factors.
Cardiac Arrest: What You Should KnowCardiac arrest is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate medical care. Use this WebMD slideshow to know whether you are at risk for cardiac arrest and what you can do if it happens to a loved one.
Heart Disease SlideshowHeart disease prevention includes controlling risk factors like diet, exercise, and stress. Heart disease symptoms in women may differ from men. Use a heart disease risk calculator to determine your heart attack risk.
Heart failure (congestive) is caused by many conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that overwork the heart. Symptoms of heart failure include
- congested lungs,
- fluid and water retention,
- fatigue and weakness, and
- rapid or irregular heartbeats.
There are two types of congestive heart failure, systolic or left-sided heart failure; and diastolic or right-sided heart failure. Treatment, prognosis, and life-expectancy for a person with congestive heart failure depends upon the stage of the disease.
Heart Failure QuizWhat is heart failure? Learn about this dangerous condition, as well as who is at risk, and what to do about it.
Heart SymptomsHeart attacks symptoms vary greatly for men and women, from anxiety and fatigue to nausea and sweating. Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and know the symptoms that may require an immediate trip to the hospital.
Cardiac Arrest QuizTake the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Quiz. Learning about this potentially deadly condition may save a life.
Sudden Cardiac ArrestSudden cardiac arrest is an unexpected, sudden death caused by sudden cardiac arrest (loss of heart function). Causes and risk factors of sudden cardiac arrest include (not inclusive) abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), previous heart attack, coronary artery disease, smoking, high cholesterol,Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation after a heart attack, congenital heart defects, history of fainting, heart failure, obesity, diabetes, and drug abuse. Treatment of sudden cardiac arrest is an emergency, and action must be taken immediately.
What Are the 4 Stages of Congestive Heart Failure?The New York Heart Association developed the four stages of congestive heart failure depending on the functional capabilities of the heart which includes Class I, Class II, Class III, and Class IV.