An automated implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (AICD) is a tiny electronic device implanted in the chest to prevent sudden death from cardiac arrest caused due to fast heart rhythms (tachycardias).
The AICD is capable of monitoring the heart rhythm to identify abnormal heart rhythms and determines the appropriate therapy to return your heartbeat to a normal heart rhythm.
The patient is admitted for 1 to 2 days for the AICD implantation. The implant procedure usually lasts about one hour and is performed in the Invasive Cardiac Laboratory. As it is very important to keep the area of insertion sterile to prevent infection, sterile drapes will be used to cover the patient from neck to feet. A small plastic cannula will be inserted in one of the veins on the hand to facilitate injection of medication. Just before implantation, the patient will be given an injection of an antibiotic to prevent wound infections. He/she will also receive medication through the intravenous cannula. After injection of a numbing medication, a small incision (cut) is made in the upper left chest (if you are right-handed) and a small "pocket" is created under the skin to accommodate the pulse generator. The lead is then inserted through a vein in the upper chest and is positioned under X-ray guidance until its tip lies snugly within the heart. The other end of the lead is then connected to the pulse generator. Your doctor may have to test the AICD by inducing an abnormal heart rhythm in the laboratory and observing if the AICD functions as expected. The patient will be put to sleep with medication before the test. The incision wound is then stitched up, cleaned and a waterproof dressing applied to the wound.
Most patients can be discharged one to two days after the implantation.