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Why Your Doctor May Recommend an Implantable Defibrillator

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Presentation: Implantable Defibrillator
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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Your doctor is recommending an implantable defibrillator for your heart condition. This is based on your past medical history, physical exam and current symptoms. Most likely, you have had, or are at high risk of having, a problem in your heart's electrical system that comes from the bottom chambers of your heart. This condition, called ventricular tachycardia, makes your heart beat too fast. As a result, less blood is pumped to your body and your brain. When this occurs, you may feel your heart pounding, or you may feel:
· Dizzy
· Faint
· Lightheaded
· Short of breath
· Fatigue.
If ventricular tachycardia isn't treated properly, it can worsen into a condition called ventricular fibrillation. During V-fib, your heart quivers, and no blood is pumped to your body or brain. A person with ventricular fibrillation usually passes out very quickly. Unless the appropriate treatment is given, ventricular fibrillation can cause death.
Treatment for ventricular fibrillation is called defibrillation. Paddles are put on the outside of the chest, and an electrical shock is given to the heart. This shock goes through the heart and stops the irregular beat. The heart then goes back to a more regular rhythm.
Your doctor believes you are at high risk for having these serious abnormal heartbeats without warning and recommends an implantable defibrillator, or ICD. The ICD will constantly monitor your heartbeat and detect any abnormal heartbeats. It will send small shocks to the heart to stop abnormal beats before they become serious.

Implantable Defibrillator


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