Like a pacemaker, an ICD is a battery-operated cardiac device that your doctor will implant surgically. When it detects an abnormally irregular or fast heart rate, the device delivers an electrical shock in order to restore and establish a normal rate. Your doctor will program the device so that it will not deliver an electric shock when you exercise or raise your heart rate by becoming active.
In cardiac ablation, a doctor creates scar tissue in the area of the heart that is responsible for irregular heartbeats. If you have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter or supraventricular tachycardia, your doctor may recommend nonsurgical ablation, one of two general types of cardiac ablation.
In nonsurgical ablation, a doctor inserts a catheter—a special long, flexible tube with wires—into a vein or artery and guides it into your heart. The catheter delivers energy to create the scar. Read more about this treatment option.
Additional tachycardia treatments
Depending on your symptoms and the severity of your tachycardia, your doctor may recommend a treatment other than a pacemaker, ICD or cardiac ablation. Your doctor may consider prescribing medication or suggest certain lifestyle changes to help control your arrhythmia and make your heart beat normally. Another tachycardia treatment may be cardioversion, using either medication or an electric shock applied by a doctor to restore your heart to its normal rhythm. Read more about other tachycardia treatments.
Learn why treating cardiac arrhythmias is important from the American Heart Association.
Find out what receiving treatment for your arrhythmia can involve.