Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) Implantation

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small battery-powered device placed in your chest to constantly monitor your heart rhythm and immediately deliver electric shocks when life-threatening arrhythmia is discovered, usually when the lower left chamber of the heart beats abnormally fast. The implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) helps normalize heart rhythm. This type of arrhythmia can lead to death due to heart attack. The implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) can also stimulate the heart when it beats too slowly.

The Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) Components

1.    A pulse generator, which is a tiny computer powered by battery.

2.    One or two leads, wires that deliver electrical signals between the pulse generator and the heart.

3.    Electrodes at the ends of the leads, to help deliver the signals when the device detects abnormal heart rhythms. The generator will send electrical signals to the heart to return to normal rhythm.

  1. Please avoid food and water for at least eight hours before the procedure.
  2. ​Please let the doctor know about all medication that you are taking as some may need to be stopped before the procedure.
  1. You will receive intravenous fluids and medication.
  2. During the procedure your vital signs and blood pressure will be monitored.
  3. You will be given a sedative and/or anesthesia from the anesthesiologist so you are asleep during the procedure.
  4. The doctor will administer a local anesthetic before placing the leads, which are small wires, through a blood vessel, inserting them through an incision made in the skin under the collarbone. The other end of the wire will be attached to the pulse generator.
  5. Once the device has been placed, the doctor will check that it is functioning properly and will program it in accordance with your condition.
  6. The implantation of the implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) takes approximately two hours.

1.    You will be moved to the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) where you will stay for one night to be closely monitored. You will spend one to two nights in the regular inpatient ward so the doctor can check your heart rhythm and make sure the device is working properly.

2.    You may experience some pain and swelling in the area where the device was placed.

3.    You will be asked to avoid raising the arm above the shoulder on the side of the implantation, strenuous activity, and heavy lifting for about one month after the surgery.

4.    Please see your doctor immediately if you experience electrical shocks more than once a day.

5.    During your regular check-ups, your doctor will check the battery in your device, which should last up to seven years. When the battery needs to be replaced, the procedure is relatively minor compared to the initial surgery.


  1. Bleeding or hematoma, and infection where the implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) was implanted.
  2. Allergic reaction to the medications used during the procedure.
  3. Damage to blood vessels.
  4. Bleeding in the pericardium.
  5. The implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) sends abnormal signals to the heart or malfunctions or the leads come loose.
  6. Stroke, heart attack, or other serious complications, which are uncommon.
  7. Death (rare).
Let your doctor know if you develop problems, such as:
  1. Bleeding, swelling or increased pain at the implantation site
  2. Fever
  3. Dizziness
  4. Fainting
  5. Chest pain
  6. Difficulty breathing


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Heart (Cardiology) Center

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