Features December 2018 Issue

Can an Implantable Defibrillator Prevent You from Dying?

An ICD will prevent you from dying from a rapid arrhythmia, but it won’t prevent you from dying from a different illness.

Can an Implantable Defibrillator Prevent You from Dying?

It's a tough question to ask, but the answer is reassuring.

At this point, it is common practice to ask the patient whether they would like the shocking function turned off. Disarming the device will not prolong or hasten death: It simply prevents the discomfort of a shock, should a rapid heart rhythm occur. "The defibrillator will ignore the episode and not respond," Dr. Wilkoff says.

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