Are implantable cardioverter defibrillators safe? Effective?

Yes and yes. While there have been specific manufacturer recalls of various leads and devices, overall implantable cardiac defibrillators are among some of the safest medical devices implanted. They are extraordinarily effective at terminating the potentially fatal heart rhythms they are implanted to treat.
Yes and Yes. The risk of complication during implant is low. The most common issues are lead displacement, which is not dangerous but would require a second procedure (2%). The risk of a major complication is around 0.2-0.4%. In general, icds are considered very effective at terminating VT and vf, usually around 99%. They have been repeatedly shown to prolong the life of recipients.

Related Questions

How effective is an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator for treating cardiac arrest?

ICD. The ICD is probably the most effective treatment for cardiac arrest as it is in place and monitoring for a shockable ventricular tachyarrhythmia. It is the fastest way to accomplish defibrillation.

What is the function of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator?

Shock the heart. The device has the abiltiy to sense when your heart is beating in an abnormal and dangerous way which could lead to you passing out or having your heart stop. It then delivers an electric shock to the heart to convert the abnormal rhythm back to normal. The device also can function as a pacemaker if your heart beat becomes too slow.
Terminate arrhythmia. These are devices which may detect and automatically treat malignant (life-threatening) arrhythmias. Those include ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. They use either bursts of rapid pacing or one or more high energy shocks. Patients receive these either after an arrhythmic event or prophylactically because they are at risk for these arrhythmias.

What are the main parts of a implantable cardioverter-defibrillator?

See below. Strictly speaking, an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator has a generator (box) and a shocking lead (wire that goes through the vein to the right ventricle). The generator holds the circuitry and the battery, the lead delivers the shock to the heart.

What is the significance of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator?

Defibrillation. An automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (aicd) is a lfe-saving device. The device continuely monitors the heart rhythm. When an abnormal rhythm is detected it attempts to restore a normal sinus rhythm (nsr), a cardioversion via shock or pacing alogorithms. However, when it detects a life threatening rhythm such as ventricular fibrillation it applies an immediate shock to restore nsr.
It is designed. To terminate life threatening arrhythmia & can also serve as a pacemaker.

What can I expect from using an 'implantable cardioverter defibrillator'?

Palpitations, jolt. If your heart has a serious rhythm problem, the device should intercede to correct it. When that happens, you may feel palpitations or a jolt in your chest. If the defibrillator didn't intervene, you might never feel anything again!

How did the earlier versions of the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator function?

Similar. The first icds required surgeons to place patches on the surface of the heart and the patches were connected by wires to the generator which was a large bulky device placed under the skin in the abdomen.
I Agree, and... I agree with dr. Hahn's answer and would add that the earlier devices used an electrical pulse which is inferior to the one currently used. The result was that more energy was required for a successful shock and more patients could not be successfully shocked out of a dangerous rhythm on the first attempt. The earlier devices also had no ability to tell safe from dangerous rhythms.