July 14, 2017 – ICD


Anchor lead: Should you consider an implanted cardiovascular defibrillator? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Implanted cardiovascular defibrillators, or ICDs, shock someone’s heart back into a regular heartbeat when it fails to beat regularly, and the devices save lives. Now a study in the New England Journal of Medicine affirms that for people at high risk but who’ve never had a cardiovascular event, implanting an ICD may make sense. Seth Martin, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, agrees.

Martin: It can make perfect sense that if this is someone at high risk this is someone who could benefit, and that’s the rationale for implanting a cardiovascular defibrillator in a person who’s at high risk for the condition. This could be a lifesaving device.  For someone who hasn’t had an event it’s a hard sell. This is about having a really engaged clinician and patient discussion about what the real risks are, and making an informed decision. Because this is something that is hard to appreciate when it hasn’t happened to you.    :30

Martin says the risk of sudden death is high when the heart fails to beat in a coordinated fashion, known as fibrillation. ICDs are designed to detect and correct this condition. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.