Cardiac Defibrillation

The Arrhythmia Center at Missouri Baptist Medical Center provides interventional treatments for arrhythmias including cardiac defibrillation.

What is Cardiac Defibrillation?

Cardiac defibrillation is a treatment for life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia or cardiac arrest that uses a machine called a defibrillator to send electric shocks to the heart. These electric shocks help return the heart to normal rhythm and function. Defibrillators can be external devices or implanted in the body.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 314-996-3627 or contact us online.

Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small device, similar to a pacemaker. An ICD is implanted under the skin, often in the shoulder area just under the collarbone.

Implantable cardioverter defibrillators sense the rate of the heartbeat. When the heart rate exceeds a rate programmed into the device, it delivers an electrical shock to the heart in order to restore the heart back to the more normal heart rhythm.

All ICDs are combined with a pacemaker to deliver an electrical signal to regulate a heart rate that is too slow. ICDs are used for life-threatening arrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation and are highly effective in preventing sudden cardiac death.

How is an ICD Implanted?

ICD implantation surgery usually takes 1-3 hours. During the surgery, a lead is inserted into a vein under the collarbone and is guided to the heart. The ends of the leads are then attached to the heart’s lower chambers and the top of the lead is attached to the pulse or shock generator that will be implanted under the skin beneath the collarbone.

After surgery, your heart will be tested by the doctor to make sure the device is working properly.

For more information on implantable cardioverter defibrillators or to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist in St. Louis, call 314-996-3627 or contact us online.

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