How Do I Know Which Type Of Defibrillator Is Best For Me?

Question: I have heard there are special types of defibrillators. How do I know which one is best for me?

Answer: Your doctor will decide which defibrillator is appropriate for you. There are different indications for defibrillators and defibrillators can act as something other than a simple device to shock the heart back to life. They all act as pacemakers and some of them act as what's called biventricular pacemakers for cardiac resynchronization therapy or CRT.

In the simplest case, where a defibrillator is placed for someone who's simply at risk of sudden death but does not need pacing and does not have bad heart failure, your doctor may just put in a single lead device into what's called the ventricle.

In many cases however, pacing is indicated or your doctor may want more information so he or she will put in two leads -- a duel chamber defibrillator.

And then finally for patients who are at risk for sudden death, but also have heart failure with problems with the contraction of the ventricle, then your doctor may put in a three-lead device called a biventricular pacing defibrillator which allows for pacing, allows for defibrillation shock, but also allows resynchronization of the ventricles to improve the congestive heart failure.