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Current Status of the Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator*

Michael H. Gollob, MD; John J. Seger, MD
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*From the Section of Cardiology (Dr. Gollob), Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX; Division of Cardiology (Dr. Seger), Texas Heart Institute, Houston, TX.

Correspondence to: Michael H. Gollob, MD, Section of Cardiology, RM 507D, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030; e-mail: mgollob@bcm.tmc.edu



Chest. 2001;119(4):1210-1221. doi:10.1378/chest.119.4.1210
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Clinical trials have established the superiority of the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) over antiarrhythmic drug therapy in survivors of sudden cardiac death and in high-risk patients with coronary artery disease. The ICD has evolved to overcome the limitation of earlier devices that required thoracotomy for implantation and were fraught with inappropriate shock delivery. Current ICDs are implanted in a similar manner to cardiac pacemakers and incorporate sophisticated rhythm-discrimination algorithms to prevent inappropriate therapy. Managing the patient with an ICD requires an understanding of the multiprogrammable features of modern devices. Drug interactions and potential sources of electromagnetic interference may adversely affect ICD function. Driving restrictions may be necessary under certain conditions. The cost-effectiveness of ICD therapy appears favorable, given the marked survival benefit seen in randomized trials relative to antiarrhythmic drug treatment. The growing number of ICD recipients necessitates an understanding of the specialized features of the modern ICD and the role of device therapy in clinical practice.

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