Implantable defibrillators are life-saving devices that can correct a dangerous heart rhythm disturbance by “shocking” the heart with an electrical impulse. Because defibrillators have built-in pacemakers, they can also stimulate the heart when necessary to maintain a proper heartbeat. Considered to be highly reliable and effective, defibrillators are fully customizable and can be programmed to meet a patient’s specific needs and medical condition.
At FMC Cardiology — Electrophysiology, Paul Z. Gerczuk, M.D. offers a variety of diagnostic and treatment options, including pacemakers and defibrillators, to help patients with heart rhythm conditions (arrhythmias).
Arrhythmias can cause the heart to beat too quickly, too slowly, or irregularly, resulting in a number of symptoms. For instance, some people experience a fluttering or racing heartbeat, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, shortness of breath, or chest pains.
In general, defibrillators are often recommended for patients who are identified as having an elevated risk of:
- Ventricular tachycardia — The lower chambers of the heart independently beat faster than 100 beats per minute
- Ventricular fibrillation — The muscle fibers of the lower chambers of the heart contract in a fast, uncoordinated manner
- Sudden cardiac arrest caused by arrhythmia — The heart’s pumping function is abruptly lost, stopping the flow of blood to the rest of the body
Defibrillators consist of battery-powered pulse generators with small wires (leads) that connect to the heart. Once implanted, the leads continually monitor the heart rate. If ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation is detected, the generator will send out a controlled burst of electrical impulses to regulate the heart rate. If this is ineffective, the generator will then “shock” the heart to restore its normal rhythm.
Many people who need defibrillators and other treatments for arrhythmias entrust Dr. Gerczuk with their heart health. As a cardiac electrophysiologist who is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. Gerczuk is highly attuned to the needs of his patients. He also has extensive experience in surgically placing defibrillators and other heart rhythm devices, and he is widely known for connecting with his patients on a personal level.
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