New subcutaneous implantable cardioverter-defibrillator available


A subcutaneous implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (S-ICD) is offered for patients at risk of sudden death from ventricular tachyarrhythmias. Unlike traditional defibrillators, the S-ICD does not have intracardiac, transvenous leads.

The S-ICD is a small can that is placed under the armpit; a wire is tunneled under the skin next to the chest wall toward the sternum.

“The main advantage of subcutaneous ICD is the lead is not inside the blood pool in a vein. Also, if the lead breaks, it’s a whole lot easier to remove,” Michael J. Springer, M.D. said. “For a younger patient who may need the defibrillator for 30 or 40 years, this is a big advantage.”

Studies have found the S-ICD is as effective as traditional defibrillators in preventing sudden death from dangerous heart rhythms.


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