Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Select An Article

Abnormal Heart Rhythms and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD)

Font Size

What Happens During the Procedure? continued...

The ICD may be implanted in two ways, but the endocardial (transvenous) approach is most common.

A small incision is made under the collarbone. The lead is placed into a vein and guided inside your heart chamber. The generator is placed under skin in your upper chest and attached to the lead(s).

On rare occasion, it may be necessary for your doctor to implant your ICD using the epicardial approach (outside your heart). This requires open-heart surgery. Instead of placing the lead through a vein and guiding it to the heart, it is sewn onto the heart. Minimally invasive approaches, such as robotic-assisted surgery, are available to lessen the trauma associated with this type of surgery. Your doctor will decide if this approach is necessary for you.

The ICD implantation procedure takes about two to five hours to perform.

What Happens After the ICD Is Placed?

You will normally be admitted to the hospital overnight after your ICD is implanted.

The morning after your implant, you will have a chest X-ray to make sure the ICD leads are in the proper position and your ICD will be programmed to ensure it is functioning properly.

You will receive information about the type of ICD and leads you have, the date of implantation, and the name of the doctor who performed the procedure. In about three months after the procedure, you will receive a permanent identification card with this information. It is important that you carry this card with you at all times in case you need medical attention.

For the first six weeks after the procedure, avoid lifting, pushing, or pulling objects that weigh more than 10 pounds. If you had open-heart surgery, it may take longer for you to get back to some activities. Your doctor or nurse will discuss specific activity guidelines with you before you leave the hospital.

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure