An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small, box-shaped device that is placed inside the body near your heart. It constantly monitors your heartbeat for any abnormal rhythm and helps regulate your heartbeat. It can also help you if your heart beats too fast, by returning it to a normal rhythm.

ICD’s work by sending a painless electrical impulse through a wire, which prompts your heart rate to beat in a normal rhythm.

They are used for patients who:

  • have abnormal heart rates (arrhythmias)
  • could have, potentially dangerous, fast heart rhythms (ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation).

Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the heart muscle. Cardiomyopathy can often be caused by a genetic mutation, and can therefore run in families affecting one or many members, at any age.

Heart failure means the heart has become less effective in pumping blood around the body.

Atrial tachycardia is an abnormal heart rhythm which is usually seen in patients that have undergone heart surgery, have congenital heart defects or have undergone previous ablation procedures.

Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm. It is the most common heart rhythm disorder in the UK.

Patient information films

The Trust has produced a series of short films to help you understand what will happen before, during and after the ICD procedure as well as answering some commonly asked questions and making sure you are aware of the risks of the procedure.

Part 1 - What is an ICD?

Part 2 - Before the ICD procedure

Part 3 - During the ICD procedure 

Part 4 - After the ICD procedure 

Part five - What are the risks of the ICD procedure? 

Part six - Frequently asked questions about the ICD procedure 

You can also download our patient information leaflet in English or Bengali below. The leaflet contains information about living with your ICD, including what to expect when you leave hospital, taking care of your wound and follow-up appointments. Our clinical nurse specialist in devices, Nicky Margerison, also gives more information on this treatment. 

CNS in Devices contact details

Tel: +44(0)1895 823 737 ext 6580
Bleep: 6339

Useful documents

Living with your ICD