All About

AICD- Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator


Patients with known sustained ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation are the main candidates for AICD. . Studies have shown AICDs to have a role in preventing cardiac arrest in high-risk patients who haven't had but are at risk for, life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias.


Doctors may recommend AICD if the patient is at risk of the following:

Heart attack,

Survived cardiac arrest,

Ventricular arrhythmia,

Abnormal heart beat including QT syndrome.

More about Treatment

Automated implantable cardioverter defibrillator (AICD) or also called Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is a small battery powered device implanted inside the body, usually in the chest , which is capable of performing cardioversion, defibrillation and in modern versions pacing of the heart. The device is therefore capable of correcting most life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.The ICD is the first-line treatment and prophylactic therapy for patients at risk for sudden cardiac death due to ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.


Risk Factors


Risks associated with ICD implantation are usually uncommon but may include:

Infection at the implant site

Allergic reaction to the medications used during the procedure

Swelling, bleeding or bruising where the ICD was implanted

Damage to the vein where your ICD leads are placed

Bleeding around your heart, which can be life-threatening

Blood leaking through the heart valve where the ICD lead is placed

Collapsed lung (pneumothorax)




Prior to placing a ICD doctors prepare a number of diagnostic tests as follows:

ECG - Electrocardiography


Electrophysiology Study.

Holder or ambulatory ECG monitor.




Usually you may have to fast upto 8 hours before the procedure. Doctors will also advise regarding the medications that you are taking prior to the implant.


Actual procedure


Usually a local anesthesia is provided wherein you are aware of your surroundings, but are numb at the area of procedure. In the process of surgery, insulated wires are inserted into the veins near the collarbone, and guided to the heart. The ends of the leads are secured to the heart while the other end is secured to the generator which is usually implanted under the skin beneath the collarbone.

The Doctor will test it and program it for your heart rhythm.


Post Procedure


Usually you will be released on the same day of the procedure, once the anesthesia has worn off. However, it is recommended not to drive. Since the leads are placed in the heart, Doctors recommend to abstain from heavy work and sudden jerky movement for the first 2-3 weeks. However if the defibrillator is subcutaneous such restrictions may be minimal.

Some pain may remain after the procedure for few days to weeks. Doctors prescribe pain killers and medication for treating this. It is advised to take medicine only on the recommendations of the Doctor.


Short term Precautions


Usually for the first 3-4 weeks doctor will advise you to avoid

Vigorous above the shoulder exercises like swimming, weight lifting, bowling or bicycling.

Avoid sudden jerky movements and have controlled movement of arms.


Long term precautions


While electrical interference occurrences are rare, however the following precautions are advisable:

Cell phone is ideally placed more than 6- 8 inches from the ICD

Keep headphones, magnets and other magnetic impulse equipment's at least 6- 8 inches from the ICD

Doctors issue a card saying you have an ICD. Show it to airport security to request for manual checking (in the place of x-ray or hand held scanner)

Power or welding generators - These generate high current hence it is advisable to stand at least a meter away from these devices.


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