What are ICD monitoring devices? How Do They Help Patients?

What are ICD monitoring devices? How Do They Help Patients?

With arrhythmia cases rising by the day, we’re starting to see more and more people getting ICD monitoring devices. In the US alone, over 650,000 patients rely on such devices to get by. ICD for short, an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator is a life-saving device that helps in the management of arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats. It is placed within the chest to keep track of your heartbeat and pick out any abnormalities. 

Then, in case of an irregularity, it delivers an electric jolt to restore the heartbeat to normalcy. Tiny yet life-saving, ICDs are one of the most popular cardiac monitoring devices, and today we seek to tell you more about how they work and what they bring to the table.

Who needs an ICD in the first place?

Not everyone with an irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, needs an ICD. In fact, most people experience this abnormality during their lifetime. When they occur occasionally and far between, then you may not need to get an ICD implanted. 

However, when you have skipped or extra heartbeats with greater regularity, then, in consultation with your physician, an ICD surgery may be suggested. ICD devices are usually presented to patients with dangerous arrhythmias such as ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia, which are considered life-threatening.

If you’re constantly feeling tired and suffering from bouts of dizziness every so often, then you may need to get tested. Arrhythmias are usually detected by way of an ECG or electrocardiogram. When on-site monitoring doesn’t pick up anything, your physician may suggest a wearable ECG recording device for round-the-clock event monitoring. 

Components of the standard ICD

 ICDs can have several parts depending on the complexity of the circuitry. Models naturally vary across manufacturers, but in essence, your typical ICD contains two primary components as follows:

  • Pulse generator: True to its name, the generator can encourage heartbeats through electrical signals. But it’s not just one-way traffic. The generator can also receive and react to signals from your heart just as much as it can send them out
  • Electrodes and Leads: These are basically insulated flexible wires that bridge the electrical activity between the generator and your body’s most important organ. Depending on model or design, ventricles can also be an option for lead position but generally, either end is attached to your heart, and the generator

In rare cases, the electrode and pulse generator can merge into one seamless system. It’s commonplace, however, to have various types of ICDs depending on what part of the heart they help to pace.

Your heart has four chambers. Depending on how many chambers the ICD paces, then it could either be a single-chamber or dual-chamber ICD. There’s also another type called biventricular ICD, which paces both left and right ventricles. 

How patients benefit from ICD devices

  • Fewer symptoms

Arrhythmias can manifest in various ways. In some cases, patients can feel light-headed and dizzy. That can also mean chronic fatigue, as there’s poor coordination between the oxygen needs of your body and the amount that your heart is actually pushing out.

With an ICD device, however, you can experience much fewer symptoms. That’s because the device can respond to your fluctuating heart rate in real-time, adjusting beats to meet your body’s oxygen needs. As a result, patients experience far fewer symptoms and this means a richer quality of life. Patients can work or get through the day with little downtime, and without putting their personal safety at risk. 

  • Fewer hospital visits and admissions

Patients with heart failure and irregular rhythms may have to come into the doctor’s office every so often for important data to be taken. That all changes with ICDs. When paired with cardiac implant monitoring services, patients with ICD monitoring devices can spend less time at the hospital and more time with their families.

Physicians get round-the-clock access to health data at the convenience of a few clicks. In other words, patients with ICDs can be monitored more remotely. This reduces in-person doctor appointments, while recurrent hospitalization also goes down. 

Peace of mind

Acute emotional stress is bad for your heart and it in fact counts as one of the predisposing factors for heart disease. Patients with arrythmias can feel particularly worried about their situation. Constant scenarios play out in the mind regarding what would happen if they were to experience a cardiac event when there’s no one around to help them. Over time, this cumulative stress can inflict even more pressure on a frail heart. 

An ICD, when paired with a good cardiac implantable monitoring service such as that which we offer here at TechIndia, can ensure round-the-clock vital monitoring for the patient. This means they can rest easier knowing fail-safes are in place to safeguard their health even in their sleep.  

Reduced risk of mortality 

One study went out of its way to find the impact ICDs had on cases of left ventricular systolic dysfunction. The observational study encompassed 76 real-life ICD use cases, paired with additional data from 12 randomized clinical trials. 

In a nutshell, patients with ICD devices are at lower risk of sudden cardiac fatalities, the study found. In Particular, the risk of fatality went down by 57%. Overall, the risk of mortality in patients with ICD devices dwindled to 26%. 

As always, the concerns over whether the success of clinical trials can be directly transferred to real life will always abound due to unideal scenarios. But it’s hard to argue with those numbers.   

Cardiac implant monitoring is necessary with ICD devices

There’s no doubting the need for ICD therapy, which is saving more lives than we can count. However, like with any technology, it does have its shortcomings. One of those is the risk of device malfunctions which can endanger the life of a patient. In particular, inappropriate shocks can occur which can compromise the wearer’s safety. It is for this reason a proper cardiac implantable monitoring service is needed to complement ICD monitoring. 

Techindia is one such provider of these services. We safeguard the heart health of ICD patients with high-level care coordination made possible by a team of IBHRE-certified clinical staff. 


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