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Cath Lab Procedures

- Devices

ICD implant

These are procedures that take place in the catheter laboratory under local anaesthetic and sometimes with the addition of sedation administered into a vein. The procedure can be a day case procedure or sometimes requires an overnight stay. This procedure is performed if you have an issue with the electrical functioning of the heart.

The ablation procedure is slightly different depending on the underlying condition that is being treated.

Some examples of these procedures are described below.

ICD stands for "implantable cardioverter defibrillator."

This is a device that has a function where it can treat dangerously fast heart rhythms. but many of them can also work as a basic pacemaker, preventing the heart beating too slowly,


The ICD works by watching your hearts natural heart beat every single minute. If it detects a slow heart beat it will provide an artificial heartbeat in the same way as a pacemaker. In addition to this it is a very clever device that is able to detect dangerously fast rhythms coming from your heart. If it detects these then these can be life threatening and require immediate treatment. The ICD can treat these fast heartbeats in two ways; they can either deliver a burst of very quick impulses to the heart which aim to stop the fast rhythm (known as anti-tachycardia pacing, or ATP) or they can deliver a ‘shock’ to the heart, which stops the abnormal rhythm immediately and gives the heart chance to rest itself into a normal rhythm (known as defibrillator function). 

The actual procedure for implanting the device is very similar to a pacemaker implant. Sometimes at the end of the procedure, you may be given sedation so the doctor can check that the ICD is working correctly. The ICD battery box is bigger than that of a pacemaker so sometimes sits a bit more prominently under the collarbone.

An ICD may have a bigger impact on your lifestyle than a simple pacemaker and your Cardiology team will discuss this with you prior to considering the procedure. ICDs are considered for patients that have previously had evidence of a life-threatening abnormal cardiac rhythm (arrhythmia) or those with conditions that may put them at risk of one (in selected patients with ischaemic heart disease, heart failure, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and some of the rarer inherited cardiac conditions). 

Main points

1.  A treatment to protect against dangerous heart rhythm problems

2. Usually a day case procedure

3. A device is placed under the skin - usually below the collarbone - and one or more leads are placed inside the heart

You should always talk to your healthcare team about any procedure you're going to have and make sure it is right for you.

ICD EGM shock.jpeg
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