Pacemakers and Defibrillators
A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device that helps the heart beat in a regular rhythm. An implantable cardiac defibrillator is a device that monitors your heart rate and delivers a strong electrical shock to restore the heartbeat to normal in the event of tachycardia. Many defibrillators can also function as pacemakers, delivering a weaker shock to correct bradycardia as well.
Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators: Pacemakers & Defibrillators
Pacemakers and defibrillators, or implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), are mechanical treatments that give electrical shocks to the heart to restore regular rhythm to patients with arrythmias (irregular heartbeats).
An ICD is used to detect and suppress the presence of heart arrhythmias. ICDs can convert the arrhythmia back to a normal rhythm by delivering an electrical shock to the heart.
Candidates for ICDs are people at risk for sudden death from arrhythmias, including those with:
- A history of cardiac arrest
- Tachycardia (the heart beats too quickly) or bradycardia (the heart beats too slowly)
- Cardiomyopathy (diseased heart muscle)
- Reduced pumping function of the heart
Driected by Hasan Garan, MD, Henry M. Spotnitz, MD, and Michael Argenziano, MD, Columbia University Medical Center physicians implant two major types of ICDs: pacemakers andimplantable defibrillators.