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Learn the S-ICD Difference

S-ICD vs transvenous ICD and Pacemakers

An S-ICD is different from other implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) devices designed to treat heart conditions. Your doctor will guide you to the device that’s best for you.

Difference between S-ICD and ICD

Transvenous ICD Implant Procedure

Illustration of the S-ICD vs Traditional ICDs

S-ICD vs Traditional ICDs

ICD therapy is a very trustworthy therapy that has prolonged hundreds of thousands of lives. When ICD devices were first introduced in the 1980s, they were implanted in the abdomen. Later came the transvenous ICD, which is implanted in the shoulder area. The less invasive subcutaneous (under the skin) ICD or S-ICD is the newest type of ICD device, which delivers protection without touching the heart.

S-ICD System implant procedure

  • Unlike a transvenous ICD device, the pulse generator is typically implanted on the left side of the chest next to the rib cage and the lead is implanted just under the skin above the breastbone.
  • The S-ICD electrode is placed under the skin. The S-ICD System delivers therapy without the need for wires implanted in the heart.
  • S-ICD leaves the heart and blood vessels untouched and intact.

Transvenous ICD implant procedure

  • A transvenous ICD device is typically implanted in the left shoulder area, near the collarbone.
  • Using X-ray imaging, the leads are fed through a vein into the heart and across the heart valve.
  • Depending on your heart condition, 1 or 2 leads will be placed in the heart. Once the leads are put in place, they are attached to the heart wall for optimal connectivity.

S-ICD vs a Pacemaker


  • A pacemaker helps control an abnormally slow heart rhythm.
  • It sends small electrical pulses to the heart if the heart is beating too slowly.

S-ICD System

  • An ICD device such as the S-ICD sends an electric shock to the heart if it detects a dangerously fast heartbeat in order to restore the heart to its normal rhythm.
  • An ICD is designed to prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest.  
Find a Doctor

Find a doctor.

An S-ICD is a defibrillator implanted subcutaneously without leads touching the heart. Use the hospital locator tool to find S-ICD follow up centres and physicians trained in the S-ICD technology.

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Patient Stories

Meet real patients as they share their stories about living with an S-ICD.


The law restricts these devices to sale by or on the order of a physician. Indications, contraindications, warnings and instructions for use can be found in the product labelling supplied with each device. Information for the use only in countries with applicable health authority product registrations.Content of this website is for Information Purposes only and not meant for product promotion or medical diagnostic. This information does not constitute medical or legal advice, and Boston Scientific makes no representation or warranty regarding this information or its completeness, accuracy or timeliness.
Accordingly, Boston Scientific strongly recommends that you consult with your physician on all matters pertaining to your health or to address any questions.