An Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) is a small device that's placed in the chest or abdomen. Doctors use the device to help treat irregular heartbeats called Arrhythmias.
An ICD uses electrical pulses or shocks to help control life-threatening Arrhythmias, especially those that can cause sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating. If the heart stops beating, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. SCA usually causes death if it's not treated within minutes.
ICDs use electrical pulses or shocks to treat life-threatening arrhythmias that occur in the ventricles (the heart's lower chambers).When ventricular arrhythmias occur, the heart can't pump blood well. You can pass out within seconds and die within minutes if not treated.To prevent death, the arrhythmia must be treated right away with an electric shock to the heart. This treatment is called defibrillation.
An ICD has wires with electrodes on the ends that connect to your heart chambers. The ICD will monitor your heart rhythm. If the device detects an irregular rhythm in your ventricles, it will use low-energy electrical pulses to restore a normal rhythm.