Pacemakers and ICDs
DefinitionA pacemaker monitors the electrical impulses in the heart. When needed, it delivers electrical pulses to make the heart beat in a more normal rhythm. A pacemaker may be helpful when the heart beats too slowly or has other abnormal rhythms. An ICD is a device that monitors heart rhythms. If it senses dangerous rhythms, it delivers shocks. Many ICDs record the heart's electrical patterns when there is an abnormal heartbeat. This can help the doctor plan future treatment.
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small device that's placed in your chest or abdomen. This device uses electrical pulses or shocks to help control life-threatening, irregular heartbeats, especially those that could lead the heart to suddenly stop beating. An ICD is similar to a pacemaker, but there are some differences. Pacemakers can only give off low-energy electrical pulses. They are often used to treat less dangerous heart rhythms, such as those that occur in the upper chambers of your heart. Most new ICDs can act as both pacemakers and ICDs.