Defibrillator Implant Surgery

What is defibrillator implant surgery

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small device that is placed in patients with arrhythmias to correct abnormal heart rhythms such as ventricular tachycardia (VT). The procedure has been proven to save lives of patients with a weakened heart muscle known as dilated cardiomyopathy.

Procedure details


Physicians make a small incision below the left collarbone and create a pocket under the skin for placement of the ICD. A defibrillator wire is advanced to the heart’s right lower chamber (right ventricle) and fixed into place. The wire is then inserted into the ICD that is placed in the pocket under the skin below the left collarbone.


Additional patient information


  • The procedure is performed under sedation or general anesthesia.
  • Patients will stay overnight in the hospital for observation.
  • The ICD incision must be kept clean and dry for 2 weeks for implantation.
  • Patients must not raise their left arm above their shoulder for 4 weeks.


Scripps physicians are international leaders in the development of ICD therapy.

Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Defibrillator (CRT-D)

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) with biventricular pacemaker implantation is an option for patients whose heart muscle has weakened and is contracting abnormally. The condition results in inefficient heart pumping and a decline in heart health. CRT aims to resynchronize the heart and improve pumping efficiency.

Procedure details


Physicians make a small incision under the left collarbone and create a pocket under the skin for the special CRT pacemaker or defibrillator. Three wires are advanced to the heart through a vein in the left arm. One wire is placed in the heart’s top right chamber (right atrium). The other two wires are placed opposite each other – one on the right and the other on the left ventricle.


All three wires are then connected to the special CRT pacemaker or defibrillator, which is implanted under the skin. Once activated, the pacemaker will detect a heartbeat in the top chamber and then pace both sides of the bottom chamber at the same time. This restores synchrony in the bottom chamber and improves the heart’s pumping efficiency.


Additional patient information


  • The procedure is performed under sedation or general anesthesia.
  • Patients may go home the same day or stay overnight in the hospital for observation.
  • The CRT incision must be kept clean and dry for 2 weeks for implantation.
  • Patients must not raise their left arm above their shoulder for 4 weeks.


Scripps physicians are international leaders in the development of CRT therapy.