Heart attacks and abnormal rapid heartbeats are dangerous conditions that are hard to detect. When the heart beats too fast, too slow or beats at irregular intervals, patients can have symptoms that put them in danger, even if they aren’t aware of them.
Fortunately, Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD) are new treatment options that can improve the health of patients. These are similar to pacemakers and can be effective in detecting heart disease in patients at high risk.
Is an ICD Right for Me?
One of the first decisions about whether an ICD may be a good option for you is whether you are at risk for a dangerous irregular heartbeat. An ICD is usually used for prevention. It has positives and negatives with its use that may not make it a good option for every patient.
Another factor to consider would be if all other causes have been completely ruled out. These can include:
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Drug toxicities
- Not enough blood flow to the heart muscle
If these have been managed, the next step would be to look at your ejection fraction percentage, or how much blood is pumped out of the heart with each beat. This measure is used to figure out how much damage has been done to the heart muscle and to figure out its level of functioning. If your ejection fraction is equal to 35 percent or less, you may be a good candidate for an ICD.
While ICDs have shown great promise in the prevention of heart disease, the implant has its downsides and is not considered a cure. Any men or women who feel that they may benefit from the ICD implant should check with their doctor.