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ICD Settings/Research

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Greandoc's picture
Joined: 08/04/2011
Posts: 2

The newly posted research in the NE Journal of Medicine by a team from the University of Rochester is encouraging in that they point out the almost 80% of shocks can be prevented by putting the settings on the ICD higher. My question is: what is the best way to convince your cardio team to do this? I have been asking for a higher setting for all 5 years I have had the device and they have incrementally increased it in response to my requests, but seem incredibly leary to do so.

Steven C. Dunn, Ph.D.
2x SCA Survivor

Heart2Good's picture
Joined: 05/06/2008
Posts: 13
Higher Settings on ICD

Hi Steven,

I am a survivor with an ICD (Medtronic Virtuoso) implanted in 2010. I was told by my electrophysiologist that the "low" setting (Mine is set for 145bpm) is because anything above that and I would most likely faint before the zap, and since I drive, that would not be a good idea. When I exercise I use one of those heart monitor straps and the most I can get my heart rate up to without a huge stress is about 137bpm, so 145 seems right for me at my age and level of fitness.

Interestingly my device has been used twice. Not for defibrillation, but for correcting VT (300bpm was detected) - my device has the ability, while it is charging the capacitor after detecting an arrhythmia (getting ready to defibrillate), to intervene with the delivery of a small current (known as Antitachyardia Pacing or ATP) which seems to do the trick for me - avoiding the need for defibrillation.

If you are not happy with the settings you have and your electophysiologist cannot give you a good reason why he/she won't increase your settings, I recommend a new electrophysiologist. I've had three, two of whom have been excellent, and one pretty mediocre.

Hope this helps!


Carolyn & Jeremy Whitehead She survived a cardiac arrest in 2002, six weeks after their wedding.
He wrote the story of their ordeal - A Heart Too Good to Die: A shocking story of Sudden Cardiac Arrest.