Implantable cardioverter defibrillators: Current status and future directions

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Sudden cardiac death remains the most common mode of mortality in the United States, accounting for up to 450,000 deaths per year. Survivors of cardiac arrest and patients who have recurrent ventricular tachycardia have a high mortality rate with or without antiarrhythmic therapy. The implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) was introduced in 1980 by Mirowski as a potential treatment for these patients. There are presently over 24,000 implants worldwide and the device has proved to be an effective means of preventing sudden death. The components of an ICD include a generator, defibrillation patches or leads, and pacing/sensing leads. The devices can be implanted with acceptable mortality and morbidity either by median sternotomy, left anterior thoracotomy, subxiphoid, or left subcostal approaches. The long-term results have been excellent with an actuarial incidence of sudden cardiac death of 3% at 5 years. Improvements in battery and capacitor technology, lead design, and tachycardia recognition, combined with the addition of hemodynamic sensors and a better understanding of the science of defibrillation, should lead to further improvements over the next several years in the ICD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-57
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of cardiac surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


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