Living With Your Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)

Updated:Nov 18,2014

The American Heart Association understands that living with an ICD can be scary, especially if you made the decision quickly due to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). You need to know that you are not alone or without support.

“A shock from an ICD can be lifesaving, but it can also affect a person’s quality of life and psychological state,” said Sandra B. Dunbar, R.N., D.S.N., Charles Howard Candler Professor at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University in Atlanta. “It’s important to look at this issue now because 10,000 people have an ICD implanted each month. They range from older people with severe heart failure to healthy children who have a gene that increases the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.”

Fortunately, research has shown that ICDs can improve quality of life and extend life. You may live more confidently with an ICD by understanding more about the conditions that led to implantation, the device itself and what to expect from having it.

Learn more about living with your ICD

It is important for you to be aware that an ICD does not change the underlying condition that leads to implantation of it. Whether due to heart failure or genetic risk for sudden cardiac arrest, an ICD is implanted to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest.

About 424,000 people experience sudden cardiac in the United States per year, and only about 5% survive. While using an ICD does not reverse heart disease or alter a gene, it does reduce your risk of cardiac arrest. You should also follow your doctor’s instructions for treating your underlying conditions.

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This content was last reviewed on 10/23/2014.


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