Harvard Health Letter

Heart: Implantable defibrillators: Simple fix may save lives

Small changes to the setting of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) can reduce inappropriate shocks and can lower the risk of death. This may help cut down on the problem of ICDs going off for heartbeats that aren’t dangerous or deadly. Unnecessary shocks can be painful, and there is some evidence that frequent inappropriate shocks weaken heart muscle and make a bad situation worse, increasing the risk of death. People with an ICD implanted in the past are advised to check with their doctors to find out if there is a need for the ICD settings to be adjusted.
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