Some serious heart conditions can lead to very dangerous fast heart rhythms, which can lead to the patient collapsing or the heart stopping altogether. In the past, the only way to restart the heart was to shock the heart externally with electrical paddles. There are now, however, implantable versions of this technology, which are very similar to standard pacemakers. They constantly monitor the heartbeat but will ‘kick in’ instantly in the event of a dangerous abnormal rhythm to deliver an electrical pulse internally. These sophisticated devices have been proven to be lifesaving in patients with known, sustained ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation. The defibrillator is inserted in the same way as a standard pacemaker under theatre-like conditions.
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