BACKGROUND: Indications for implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implantation have expanded considerably in recent years, resulting in steadily growing numbers of ICD recipients worldwide. The aim of this study was to review the overall experience with ICDs in Iceland. METHODS: This was a retrospective single centre study set at the University Hospital in Iceland. Data on all ICD implantations in Iceland from the first implantation in 1992 till the end of 2002 was reviewed. RESULTS: Sixty-two patients (71% male) received an ICD during this period. There was an increase in the number of implants by year and the number of new implants in 2001 and 2002 amounted to 56 and 38 per million, respectively. The mean age at implantation was 58 (+/-14) years. Forty patients (65%) had coronary artery disease. The most common indications for ICD implantation were cardiac arrest, 32 (52%) and another 26 (42%) had experienced ventricular tachycardia without cardiac arrest. The most common adverse event was inappropriate shocks. Twenty-eight patients (45%) received therapy from their ICDs, with the majority receiving appropriate therapy. Of the thirteen patients deceased before or during the study period, no case of sudden arrhythmic death was observed. CONCLUSION: This study shows that the experience with ICDs in Iceland is in most respects similar to other Western countries.