Question: What are the benefits and potential complications that can be expected from an ICD for heart failure?
Answer: If you have heart failure, the defibrillator implantation or ICD can be a very important part of your therapy. You will probably not notice that the defibrillator is even there once it's implanted. It serves to monitor your heart for irregular heart rhythm or life-threatening arrhythmia. If the device detects an arrhythmia, it can first try to pace you out of that arrhythmia and as a last resort, shock you. Depending on your level of consciousness, you may not even notice that you've been shocked. But that potentially can save your life. As far as complications to the procedure, the complications are the same as having a pacemaker. There are potential risks associated with the sedation with the pacemaker implantation as well as risks of infection and pain. But these are generally easily managed with antibiotics as well as pain medicines.