ICD implant

Just had a letter from hospital advising me that I will be having an internal cardiovertor defibrillator (ICD) implanted shortly, for AF. I have a pre-op on 3rd June . Also see the arrhythmia nurse on 29th May. I didn't realise that an ICD was used for AF, guess I was wrong. My EP cardiologist said, if this doesn't sort it out, I'll have to have an ablation, too. I certainly hope this IS going to help me!

10 Replies

  • I didn't think it was appropriate either Margar. Are you sure they haven't found something else wrong?. An ICD works on the ventricle to restart it when it stops pumping and will not affect the atria which is what is fibrillating. If I were you I would query the letter.


  • I queried this with my GP who came to see me this morning... he says that it is used for AF when the heart rate is too fast, as this can be very serious. My EP has directed that it is an ICD to be fitted. But I will check with the arrythmic nurse at my appointment on 29th.

  • Pacemaker yes but an ICD restarts the heart when it stops and does what is in effect a DCCV . You wouldn't want that happening all the time surely?

    Never heard of this before sorry.

  • I wonder if you have having some new type of ICD? I found this on an explanatory website about ICD's and pacemakers:

    'Most new ICDs can act as both pacemakers and defibrillators.'

    Sounds like clarification is needed asap - very strange.

  • I found this information, too. There must be a reason that I'm to have an ICD, but I havent been told anything other than my EP will fit a pacemaker...no mention was made of an ICD. The only other explanation is that the wrong pre-printed letter was sent to me! I will most certainly check with the arrythmia nurse next Friday.

  • A Canadian friend said to ask my EP about one but when I looked into it it appeared to be for ventricular fibrillation not atrial fibrillation, so that comes as a surprise that your EP/Cardiologist is recommending one!

    Whatever happens hope you get something sorted 😀

  • not sure ICD for AF!! pacemaker not usually for fast heart rate either read around and have questions ready good luck

  • Medtronic have an ICD which does both atrial and ventricular pacing and can give a shock to either to bring rhythm back to NSR. It has been approved for use in the US by the FDA so perhaps it is now being trialled over here. Have no idea what the shock might feel like but it can be either patient controlled or programmed to happen at a convenient time. Don't know much else about it but will research it tonight. When my ICD needs changing it may well be the type that would suit me.

  • Hi, Cyril....yes, I saw an article about ICD implant being used for AF & ventricular pacing. As I am being offered an ICD for AF, I assume that it is available here. I intend to ask the arrythmia nurse tomorrow when I go to the hospital for advice about this procedure. This is what I found online:- "The ICD is a complex device. It is able to detect and distinguish between atrial and ventricular rhythms.

    The ICD can detect if your heart is beating in a regular rhythm (sinus rhythm), if your heart rhythm is

    irregular (for example, atrial fibrillation) or if your heart rhythm is too fast (VT or VF)".

  • Hi Margar,

    My ICD is set to pace me if my rate is either too low or too high. It is supposed to shock me if VF sets in but can also give what they say is an inappropriate shock if my rate gets above 225 due to AF. I gather this is not uncommon for patients with ICD's who also have AF. Just something we have to live with. Mine has been in for 5 years, so I guess the later ones use better algorithms that are more discerning, especially those with leads connected to the atria as yours will have. If it allows you to do away with beta blockers it could be a godsend. Hopefully my next one will do the same for me, but at my last check they said the battery was good for another 8 years at the present rate of consumption.

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