Question: I have heard that some defibrillators may not need leads to be placed in the heart. Is this true, and how do they work?
Answer :There's exciting research going on with electrodes that are not placed inside the heart but in fact could be under the skin around the chest wall that might deliver the shock and provide the equivalent of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator without the added risk of having leads inside the heart, through the vein, through the valves sitting within the blood pool. These devices are not yet available, but this is exciting research.
Available already is an entirely external defibrillator a wearable vest type defibrillator which is on the outside of the skin and is available to monitor the heart rhythm and deliver a shock externally when called upon in an automatic fashion.
This is not something that's used for long term however. It's more of a bridge during a high risk interval or perhaps while if there's been an infection and one is waiting to place an implantable endocardial or inside the heart defibrillator then a wearable defibrillator might by useful.