An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is a device implanted under the skin to monitor an individual's heart rate continuously. The device is connected to the heart with thin wires that detect dangerous changes in the heart rhythm. Upon detection of a heartbeat that is too rapid or too irregular, the ICD will deliver an electric shock to reset the heart's electrical system. The electric shock allows the heart to revert to a normal heartbeat. Because patients with long QT syndrome are at a much higher risk of experiencing life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators are often utilized to prevent these dangerous cardiac events. The devices, which are relative in size to pocket watches, are powered by a battery and implanted in a pocket under the skin of the abdomen or the chest. Leads or small wires attached to the ICD are placed in different positions on the interior surface of the heart. The leads are the component of the device that allow it to monitor the activity of the heart, and they are the component that will deliver an electric shock to the heart tissues when it is necessary. This type of device is usually reserved for cases of long QT syndrome that cannot be effectively managed with medication and lifestyle changes.
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