About devices

There are many treatment options for people with cardiomyopathy.
Some of which treat the symptoms, and some treat the condition itself to reduce its impact on the individual and lessen the symptoms.

Many people with cardiomyopathy take medication. This includes medication to thin the blood (anticoagulents), to reduce fluid build-up (diuretics), to reduce the rate and force of the heart’s contraction (beta-blockers), reduce the workload on the heart (ACE inhibitors) or to control abnormal heart rhythms (anti-arrhythmic medication). 

Some people will have medical devices to treat their cardiomyopathy. These are types of implanted technology to support the heart, either by monitoring the heart rate and treating any abnormal rhythms, or by taking over the control of the heart rate to keep a regular rhythm. 

The information on these pages is for you if you are considering having a device for your cardiomyopathy. It explains what devices are and what they are for, how they work and who needs them. We have also included the experiences of people who have a device, to share what it is like to live with one. This information is also for you if you have a device but have some questions about it.

Please note: some of the information on the following pages contains pictures of devices, photos of people who have one, and descriptions of implantation procedures and people’s experiences of having a device. We understand that some people may feel uncomfortable with these images and descriptions.

What types of device are there?

There are different types of device, each with a slightly different function. They fall into three categories: ICDs, pacemakers (including CRT or cardiac resynchronisation therapy devices), and VADs
(ventricular assist devices). Generally:

  • ICDs monitor and shock the heart when a dangerous arrhythmia occurs;
  • pacemakers set the pace of the heart;
  • CRTs synchronise both sides of the heart to beat together; and
  • VADs help to support the function of the heart if it is seriously impaired.

Pacemakers

 Read up here for information on pacemakers, such as what they are for and how they work.

Find out more

ICDs

Read all about ICDs, from what they look like to how they are fitted and what it is like to live with one.

Find out more

©Cardiomyopathy UK. April 2018