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The implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is a proven treatment for preventing sudden cardiac death. Transvenous leads are associated with significant mortality and morbidity, and the subcutaneous ICD (S-ICD) addresses this. However, it is not without limitations, in particular the absence of anti-tachycardia pacing. The decision of which device is most suitable for an individual patient is often complex. Here, we review the relative merits and weaknesses of both the transvenous and S-ICD. We summarise the available evidence for each device in particular patient cohorts, namely: ischaemic and non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy, idiopathic ventricular fibrillation, Brugada syndrome, long QT syndrome, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Original publication




Journal article


J Interv Card Electrophysiol

Publication Date



Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, Subcutaneous ICD, Sudden cardiac death, Transvenous ICD, Ventricular arrhythmias