More than one million Americans have heart attacks each year and heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US.
Our first report focuses on what some may call insurance for the heart, and ICD.
"I was having some problems breathing. It was flu season and I was just having some other difficulties. So, they did an x-ray to see if I had pneumonia," recalls ICD patient Richard Moore.
Doctors diagnosed Moore with cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle, putting him at risk of a life-threatening heart rhythm.
"The consensus was if they gave me some of the medicines that they would like to give me to lower my blood pressure, the heart rate would go down further."
Instead, Cardiologist Tom Wallace opted to implant a device known as an ICD, or implantable cardioverter defibrillator.
"A defibrillator has all of the pacemaking function that a normal pacemaker does but it has the ability to detect life-threatening fast heart rhythm, says Dr. Wallace. "It's a minor surgical procedure where a small incision is created underneath the skin and fat. Then the two wires are entered into the vein that drains the blood from the left arm down to the heart. Those wires are then attached to the defibrillator. So that if a patient does have a life-threatening heart rhytym, the device, 99-percent of the time, shocks them or paces them out of it."
"I am looking forward to feeling more energetic and maybe even get back into exercise a little bit," says Moore.
Anyone who has had or is at risk of having ventricular tachycardia, fibrillation or sudden cardiac arrest is a candidate for an ICD.
Depending on how often the device is used, ICD's can last up to about 10 years.