Advances in the treatment of arrhythmias: Implantable cardioverter- defibrillators

William J. Groh, Lynne D. Foreman, Douglas P. Zipes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

6 Scopus citations


Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators are commonly used in patients who have life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. With these implanted electronic devices, brady-arrhythmias and tachyarrhthymias can be recognized promptly and treated with electrical pacing, cardioversion or defibrillation. Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators have been shown to substantially reduce the incidence of sudden cardiac death in patients with known life- threatening ventricular arrhythmias. Their role in the primary prevention of sudden cardiac death in patients at high risk for ventricular arrhythmias is being evaluated. Technologic advances have allowed transvenous implantation of cardiac leads, obviating the need for open heart surgery and thereby lowering the risk of perioperative morbidity and mortality. Most electrical therapies are triggered appropriately to treat ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation. Inappropriate discharges may occur secondary to supraventricular causes of tachycardia, environmental interference from electromagnetic devices or malfunction of the cardioverter-defibrillator. All episodes of discharge merit investigation. With recurrent or frequent discharges, prompt evaluation and hospitalization are often necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-307
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican family physician
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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