Question: Can sudden death be prevented with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (also called an ICD)?
Answer: One of the main reasons why the defibrillator was developed was because patients had problems with dying suddenly. This is something that is increased in patients who have heart failure. And the defibrillator is a device that stands there as a watchdog, if you will, to monitor one's heart for irregular and life-threatening arrhythmias. If one goes into that potentially life-threatening arrhythmia, the device can either pace one out of that, or deliver a shock. Certainly it's not 100 percent foolproof, but in many patients it's prevented sudden cardiac death.