Difference Between ICD and Pacemaker

ICDs and pacemakers are surgical implants made to help our heart have a regular rhythm. Cardiac problems are the leading cause of death worldwide. While some people need pills and other drugs to help them with this, other people need the help of pacemakers and ICDs.


ICDs or Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators are small electrical impulse generator that is implanted in patients to prevent sudden cardiac death due to tachycardia or fibrillation. It is also battery-powered. The device constantly monitors heart rate and rhythm and sends out electrical shocks when it detects anomalies in the cardiac rhythm to correct it. Most ICDs are surgically implanted in a person, although a new subcutaneous ICD is now in development.


Pacemakers are medical devices used to regulate the beating of the heart by sending out electrical impulses through electrodes to the heart muscles responsible for our heart beat. The artificial pacemaker’s main purpose is to sustain an adequate heart rate because the body’s natural pacemakers cannot do it anymore. While previous pacemaker models are pre-programmed, new pacemakers are externally programmable, allowing optimum pacing for individual patients.

Difference between ICD and Pacemaker

While both the ICD and pacemaker deal with matters of the heart, they have different functions. Pacemakers have a more regular function; they are now what make the heart beat normally because our own muscles cannot do that anymore. ICDs on the other hand will only activate if it detects abnormalities with the heart rate, especially if you are experiencing ventricular fibrillation or tachycardia. It’s more of an emergency equipment. Also, pacemakers are more or less a temporary solution while an ICD is a permanent safeguard for your ailing heart. Currently, scientists are developing new devices that combine the functions of both the pacemaker and ICDs.

Through these two medical devices, the pacemaker and the ICD, heart problems can now be easily controlled. Proper diet and regular exercise, however, are still the best way to prevent any onset of heart problems.

In brief:

1. Pacemakers and ICDs are surgically implanted medical devices used to deal with heart problems. Pacemakers are used to control heart rate, preventing it from going too slow or too fast, while ICDs are used to prevent cardiac fibrillation.

2. Pacemakers are more of a temporary solution to consistently correct heart rate issues while ICDs are a permanent safeguard against sudden cardiac death.