Automatic Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (AICD):

Automatic Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (AICD) is a small electronic device that is implanted into your chest to monitor and correct an abnormal heart beat, or arrhythmia.

January 6, 2023

Automatic Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (AICD) is a small electronic device that is implanted into your chest to monitor and correct an abnormal heart beat, or arrhythmia.

Some facts about Automatic Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (AICD):

  • Serious and life-threatening arrhythmias can be treated by using AICD.
  • The most effective way of treating arrhythmias is to use an AICD.
  • Arrhythmias can be treated in two ways by using AICD.
  • The device tries to stop the abnormal rhythm with a burst of high speed pacing (cardioversion) in the first instance and the device will deliver an electrical shock to the heart to reset its rhythm (defibrillation) if that fails.
  • Usually, patients not aware of cardioversion and nearly always aware of defibrillation.
  • Information about the electrical activity of your heart can be collected and stored for your cardiologist to check
  • The defibrillator can be programmed by your cardiologist to deliver the best therapy for you.

Preparation for Automatic Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (AICD):

  • The procedure for Automatic Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (AICD will be carried out in a cardiology laboratory or 'cath lab'.
  • Patients are expected to stay in hospital for 1 or 2 nights.
  • An ECG will be performed and some blood test will be done.
  • Blood thinning medication may need to be stopped a few days prior to the procedure.
  • Your doctor should be notified of all medications including prescription and over-the-counter as well as herbal or other supplements that you are taking.
  • A blood test prior to the procedure may be done to determine how long it takes your blood to clot. 
  • A sedative may be given prior to the procedure to help you relax.
  • Drinking anything including water and eating anything  6 hours prior to the implantation is restricted.
  • Certain drugs can be taken the morning of your surgery.

Procedure for Automatic Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (AICD):

  • You will be given some light sedation during the procedure to help you relax and feel comfortable. 
  • Usually, the procedure takes about an hour.
  • An area below the collar bone will be numbed by local anaesthetic and a small cut (approx 5 to 8cms) will be made by the cardiologist to insert the AICD.
  • The leads will be then guided through a vein into the heart and connected to the device.
  • The skin will be then sewn together and a small dressing will be applied.
  • Your heart rhythm and blood pressure will be monitored when your return to the cardiac care unit after the procedure.
  • An ECG and chest X-ray will also be done.
  • The wound site will be observed for bleeding and swelling.
  • Pain relief will be given for wound discomfort if required. 
  • You may need to stay in hospital for 1 to 2 nights and will be discharged when your cardiologist is happy with your progress.
  • An information booklet will be given after your procedure detailing information about living with an AICD.
  • Possible driving restrictions, Possible medication changes, Follow up appointment details, Medic Alert bracelet application and What to do if you receive therapy from your AICD are some important points that need to be discussed with your cardiologist prior to discharge.
  • These are life-saving devices do need to be monitored closely to ensure that the system is working normally and that inappropriate shocks are minimized.
  • Regular appointments with the cardiologist is required after the procedure to test the AICD.