More than 2.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with a complex cardiac arrhythmia, resulting in more than 850,000 annual hospitalizations. If you’ve been diagnosed with arrhythmia, we know you’re overwhelmed and may not know which direction to turn. Rest easier knowing you’ve got Chippenham Hospital’s Levinson Heart Institute ready to help.

Levinson Heart Institute cares for more hearts, valves, veins, and arteries than any other health system in Central Virginia. Opened in 2003, Levinson was the first heart hospital in Virginia. For more than a decade, physicians and hospital teams have worked tirelessly to build the region’s premier cardiac care center, proving that experience matters when you’re dealing with the complex cardiovascular system.

Levinson Heart Institute is committed to the best care for the fastest recovery times so you can get back to doing the things you love. Our cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons are perennially voted the best in Richmond among their peers, and are devoted to advancing heart care in Central Virginia.

Experience counts when it comes to your heart. Call the doctors at Levinson Heart Institute today to find out how they can help at 804.320.DOCS (3267).

What is Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest means that the heart suddenly stops beating. The source of this condition is due to arrhythmia, or an irregular beating pattern of the heart.

Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. When a person has a heart attack, the blood flow to the heart is interrupted. This may be due to problems with the coronary arteries, such as a build-up of plaque, a blood clot, or a thickening of the artery walls.

Sudden cardiac arrest does not discriminate based on age, gender, race, or even lifestyle factors. It can strike those who are in picture perfect fitness, even world class athletes. The most common type of arrhythmia to cause cardiac arrest is ventricular fibrillation.

Contact Our Levinson Heart Clinic

Contact our Levinson Heart Clinic at (804) 483-3015 or feel free to email us with any questions at

Treatment Options

Levinson Heart Institute at Chippenham Hospital is proud to offer the S-ICD (Subcutaneous Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator), which is a newer alternative to a traditional ICD device for ventricular fibrillation.

ICD therapy is a trustworthy therapy that has prolonged thousands of lives. The S-ICD uses groundbreaking technology to sense the heart rhythm, which allows it to quickly detect and correct abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias). Unlike traditional ICDs, the S-ICD System is implanted under the skin, creating a more discrete option while also leaving the heart and blood vessels untouched.

Candidates for S-ICDs are patients who:

  • Have low ejection fraction or heart failure
  • Are post myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Do not require pacing and have a low heart rate
  • Have vascular access challenges
  • Have a higher risk for endovascular infection
  • Want a more discreet device placement
  • Have had a traditional ICD removed

What's the difference between S-ICD and a Pacemaker?

Both devices are implanted in people and both use electrical impulses to stimulate the heart. A pacemaker helps control an abnormally slow heart rhythm by sending small electrical pulses to the heart if it is beating too slowly. An ICD device, such as the S-ICD System, sends an electric shock to the heart if it detects a dangerously fast heartbeat in order to restore the heart to its normal rhythm. It is designed to prevent cardiac arrest.

How Does a Shock Feel?

It’s possible that you’ll experience a shock at some point during your time with your S-ICD - that's why it's there! If your S-ICD System detects a heart arrhythmia problem, it will send out an electrical shock to correct it. Different people feel these shocks differently. Because some patients faint or become unconscious shortly after a very fast heart rhythm starts, they do not feel these high-energy shocks. Those who are conscious sometimes describe the shock as a “kick in the chest.” The sensation lasts for only a second.

The experience of receiving a shock can differ for each person; some may find the shock reassuring, others may feel anxious for a short time after shock therapy is delivered. Some people recover more quickly than others, too. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider so that you thoroughly understand all of the risks and benefits associated with the implantation of the S-ICD System.