Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) have evolved from the treatment of last resort to the gold standard therapy for patients at high risk for ventricular tachyarrhythmias. High-risk patients include those who have survived life-threatening arrhythmias, and individuals with cardiac diseases who are at risk for such arrhythmias, but are symptomless. Use of an ICD will affect the patient's quality of life. Some drugs can substantially affect defibrillator function and efficacy, and possible drug-device interactions should be considered. Patients with ICDs may encounter cell phones, antitheft detectors, and many other sources of potential electromagnetic interference. In addition to treating ventricular tachyarrhythmias, new defibrillators provide full featured dual chamber pacing, and could treat atrial arrhythmias, and congestive heart failure by means of biventricular pacing.
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