Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Implantable cardioverter defibrillators: risks accompany the life-saving benefits


Sudden cardiac arrest is the one of the most common causes of death in developed countries and accounts for between 180 000 and over 450 000 per year in the USA. Antiarrhythmic drug approaches to prevention of sudden cardiac death have been resoundingly ineffective. The implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) constitutes one of the most important and well validated therapeutic advances in modern cardiovascular medicine. Consequently, ICD use has increased exponentially, although implementation has been quite variable geographically and with respect to other measures. In view of the expanded use of ICDs, the potential shortcomings and risks of ICD therapy have attracted attention. This commentary summarises the weaknesses, disadvantages and risks of the ICD in a balanced fashion in light of their proven life-saving benefits.

  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillators
  • adverse effects
  • psychology
  • controlled clinical trials
  • randomised
  • sudden cardiac arrest
  • atrial fibrillation
  • extraordinary treatment
  • sudden cardiac death
  • arrhythmogenic right ventricular dyplasia

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.