Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator| Ventricular Arrhythmias | MedStar Health

Implantable heart defibrillator to treat ventricular arrhythmias

Subcutaneous implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, or S-ICDs, deliver small electrical shocks to your heart to restore proper rhythm. S-ICDs often are used for patients with ventricular tachycardia, a disorder in which the heart beats fast but with a regular rhythm, or ventricular fibrillation, in which the heart beats fast but with an irregular rhythm.

The doctors in our Electrophysiology Program perform over 5,000 electrophysiology procedures each year. With multiple outpatient clinic locations throughout the region, you can receive high-quality care close to home.

What to expect when getting your S-ICD

You may be asked not to eat or drink before the procedure. Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking. An IV will be inserted to provide medication, fluids, and sedation to relax you during the procedure.

You will be given a local anaesthetic at the incision site on the side of your chest, close to your armpit. Your surgeon will make the incision and guide an electrode along your ribcage and anchor it in place near your heart. A pulse generator that contains the battery is placed under the skin near your armpit and tested. The incision is then closed and covered with a bandage.

You will be monitored in the recovery area for several hours after the procedure. You will be able to return home the day of the procedure but will need someone to drive you. Before you leave the hospital, we’ll give you a medical ID card with information about your device that you will need to carry with you.


Angiogram (Angiography)

An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.

Chest X-ray

Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart, and chest wall.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.


An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.

Event Monitors

An event monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but whereas an electrocardiogram takes place over a few minutes, an event monitor measures heart rhythms over a much longer time.

Holter Monitors

A Holter monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but whereas an electrocardiogram records over a few minutes, a Holter monitor records over the course of a day or two.

Stress Tests

Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms, and chemically induced stress tests.

Our locations

Distance from Change locationEnter your location

MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital

5601 Loch Raven Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21239

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

3800 Reservoir Rd. NW
Washington, DC, 20007

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

7503 Surratts Rd.
Clinton, MD 20735

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

201 E. University Pkwy.
Baltimore, MD 21218

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

9000 Franklin Square Dr.
Baltimore, MD 21237

MedStar Montgomery Medical Center

18101 Prince Philip Dr.
Olney, MD 20832

Additional information

Electrophysiology Program

We are leaders in developing and using the latest procedures and technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders, and our cardiac electrophysiology laboratory is one of the most sophisticated in North America.

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Have general questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at If you have clinically-specific questions, please contact your physician’s office.