Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs)

Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are small devices, about the size of a pager, that are placed below the collarbone. Via wires, or leads, these devices continuously monitor the heart's rhythm. If the heart beats too quickly, the ventricles will not have enough time to fill with blood and will not effectively pump blood to the rest of the body. Left unchecked, the rapid heartbeat could cause death.To intervene, the ICD issues a life-saving jolt of electricity to restore the heart's normal rhythm and prevent sudden cardiac death.ICDs also can act as pacemakers when a heart beat that is too slow (bradycardia) is detected.