Internal Defibulators

Internal defibulators (formally known as an internal cardioverter defibulator, or ICD) are, as the name would suggest, implanted in the body. They work similarly to the way external portable defibulators do by inducing a shock to the heart that corrects potentially fatal heart arythmia. A person with an internal defibulator may not be able to feel an arythmia, but when it is corrected by the ICD they feel the shock that has been delivered.

Currently they are used primarily in patients at risk of ventricular fibulation, but internal defibulators are also sometimes implanted in people at risk of less dangerous forms of heart fibulation. This is not to suggest that any fibulation is not serious — they can all be life-threatening. A doctor must be consulted with to determine whether or not an internal defibulator is necessary.

Internal defibulators are implanted under the skin near the collarbone. They use sensors connected to a vein to continually monitor the heartbeat. An internal defibulator specifically monitors the heart for arythmia; if the heart begins to beat too fast the ICD may shock it in order to bring the heartbeat back to normal.

An internal defibulator is not the same as a pacemaker. Pacemakers typically keep a heart up to speed if the beat slows too much. Some newer ICDs can incorporate both the pacemaker and defibulation functions; only a doctor can determine which device a patient needs.

This information is not to be used as medical advice, and has not been written by a doctor. Always consult your doctor before making any medical decisions or undertaking any treatment.

© 2005