What is the reason for getting a pacemaker or an ICD?
When the heart’s natural pacemaker has a dysfunction, the signals it sends out may become erratic: either too slow, too fast, or too irregular to stimulate adequate contractions of the heart chambers. When the heartbeat becomes erratic, it is referred to as an arrhythmia (an abnormal rhythm of the heart, which can cause the heart to pump less effectively).
ICDs may be recommended for persons with significant ventricular rhythm problems which could pose a risk for sudden death. These rhythm problems are often associated with worsening heart failure.
Arrhythmias can cause problems with contractions of the heart chambers by:
- not allowing the chambers to fill with an adequate amount of blood because the electrical signal is causing the heart to pump too fast.
- not allowing a sufficient amount of blood to be pumped out to the body because the electrical signal is causing the heart to pump too slow or too irregularly.