New wireless defibrillator approved

Published: January, 2013

Under-the-skin device meets the needs of a special population.

Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are personal devices designed to jump-start the heart, like shock paddles do. A traditional ICD has two parts. A pulse generator about the size of a deck of cards is implanted under the skin just below the collarbone. It contains a battery and computer software and stores an electrical charge. The pulse generator is connected to the heart by wire leads that are threaded into a vein leading into the heart. The leads constantly sense the heart's rhythm and can deliver a shock if necessary to restore a proper heart rhythm. The wires, however, can lead to infections and other problems.

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