09 May Subcutaneous ICD: a technology for everyone?

The Subcutaneous ICD is an underskin implantable cardioverter defibrillator for people with risk of sudden heart failure. Unlike transvenous ICD devices, the subcutaneous ICD leaves the heart and vascular untouched, as the electrocatheter is positioned under the skin instead of inside the heart.

What are the differences between ICDs and Pacemakers?
A pacemaker helps to regulate an irregular heartbeat. It emits small electrical pulses cyclically to stimulate a heart that beats too slowly to do so at a normal frequency. It plays the role of cardiac pacemaker cells.
The ICD/ICD Subcutaneous emits a life-saving defibrillation (electric shock) only in case of sudden heart failure. When the device detects a dangerous heartbeat, it emits a powerful electrical impulse to the heart to restore its normal beat.

The subcutaneous ICD therefore presents fewer risks of usual complications, such as systemic infections, being far less invasive at cardiac level. However it does not provide stimulation: some patients with symptomatic bradycardia usually benefit more from a traditional transvenous ICD with stimulating function.

This, and much more, was discussed at “Il cuore in fortezza”, the yearly cardiological meeting held in Savona on May 3rd 2019