Subcutaneous Defibrillators

Dr. Bernice Tsang, MD, FRCPC, Electrophysiologist and Lynda Gallagher, BSc, RN, CCN(C), CCDS, Nurse, talks about Subcutaneous Defibrillators and the potential benefits they offer.

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Dr. Bernice Tsang, MD, FRCPC, Electrophysiologist and Lynda Gallagher, BSc, RN, CCN(C), CCDS, Nurse, talks about Subcutaneous Defibrillators and the potential benefits they offer.
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Featuring Dr. Bernice Tsang, MD, FRCPC, Electrophysiologist and Lynda Gallagher, BSc, RN, CCN(C), CCDS, Nurse Southlake Regional Health Centre

Duration: 1 minute, 49 seconds

LG: There are two different types of ICDs. The same as the pacemaker there’s the traditional transvenous ICD, where the ICD is implanted, again like the pacemaker under the collarbone, and the leads are thread through a large vein into the right atrium, the right ventricle and sometimes onto the surface of the left ventricle.

The newer type of ICD is called a subcutaneous ICD. It is implanted under your arm on the left axilla area, and it sits under subcutaneous tissue and a lead is implanted across the diaphragm and up either side of the sternum. This ICD is not capable of any pacemaker functionality. It will only provide the therapy to rescue you from sudden cardiac death.

BT: Subcutaneous defibrillators, unlike pacemakers that are placed with wires inside the vein, have no wires inside the vein. The device, instead of sitting in the upper chest, sits below the armpit and there is a wire that is tunnelled under the skin from the side to the breastbone.

Subcutaneous devices have the potential to offer a few benefits over and above that of transvenous devices, that is devices that have wires inside the vein. In that it potentially has a lower risk of blood-type infections, also it does not affect the vein nor cause the potential of vein narrowing or clots in the vein, as might be the case with devices that have wires that sit inside the vein.

Presenter: Dr. Bernice Tsang, Electrophysiologist, Newmarket, ON

Local Practitioners: Electrophysiologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.