Phantom shocks in patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

Research paper by Emerson A EA Juan, Marc M Pollack

Indexed on: 09 Apr '08Published on: 09 Apr '08Published in: The Journal of Emergency Medicine


Phantom shock is the sensation of shock in the absence of an actual implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) discharge. The ICD is now the first-line therapy for patients with ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation. There has been a significant increase in the number of patients with an ICD and patients presenting to the Emergency Department (ED) after a shock for evaluation and device interrogation. Phantom shock is more likely to be nocturnal in the first 6 months after implantation, and patients are more likely to be clinically depressed and have higher levels of anxiety. There is no specific treatment. We report 3 patients who presented to the ED with the sensation of ICD discharges, however, on device interrogation had no shocks and no dysrhythmias.