There are several situations in which you may require the implantation of a defibrillator (Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator, ICD):
You may have already experienced a life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia, either certain or suspected. The recurrence of the arrhythmia would be dangerous for you. Doctors call this situation “secondary prevention of sudden cardiac death”, or simply “secondary prevention”. In this case, a defibrillator may be offered to you either alone or in combination with antiarrhythmic drug treatment or after ablation therapy of the arrhythmia.
You may also never have had arrhythmias but be at high risk of developing life-threatening arrhythmias due to a heart disease which has been diagnosed in you. In this case, the defibrillator is offered as “primary prevention (of sudden cardiac death)”.
Finally, similar to the previous situation, it can happen that a disease has been detected in your family, that you are carrier of the disease or of the genetic abnormality at the origin, leading to a high risk of life-threatening arrhythmias. In this case, a defibrillator can sometimes be offered to you as “primary prevention”.