Treatment Options for Sudden Cardiac Arrest

The most effective way to treat sudden cardiac arrest is defibrillation. A defibrillator gets your heart back into its normal rhythm. Defibrillators can be external, like those carried by emergency crews, or implanted in your body for long-term protection.

There are two primary types of defibrillators: external and implantable.

External Defibrillators

An external defibrillator measures the electrical activity of the heart and delivers a therapy shock if a dangerously fast heart rhythm is detected. Most emergency response teams (EMTs) carry and use external defibrillators, and many public places now have external defibrillators. The goal is to provide access to defibrillation when needed as quickly as possible.

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small device implanted under your skin. It serves the same purpose as an external defibrillator, but ICDs automatically monitor your heart rhythm and deliver therapy as needed to prevent sudden cardiac arrest.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 22 Sep 2010

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