Features May 2013 Issue

Subcutaneous ICD May Be a Better Option for Some Heart Rhythm Patients

A subcutaneous ICD contains a lead that runs up the sternum, not in the heart itself.

Subcutaneous ICD May Be a Better Option for Some Heart Rhythm Patients

The device’s lead is not in direct contact with the heart, unlike the more traditional implantable cardiac defibrillator, but there are some limitations with the technology.

Most implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) work by using thin, insulated wires that are fed into the heart through veins and administer a shock to the heart when it the devices detect a life-threatening arrhythmia. But a new type of ICD requires a less invasive procedure to implant it, and can shock the heart back into a healthy rhythm without having a lead actually enter the heart.

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