Automatic Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (AICD) is a device that monitors a person’s heart rate. They are generally implanted into heart failure patients. AICD intended to convert life threatening rhythms of the heart which may cause sudden cardiac death also known as cardiac arrest, to a sinus (normal) rhythm. An abnormal heart beats are referred to as arrhythmias either one that beats too fast (Tachycardia), too slow (Brachycardia) or irregularly referred as Atrial Fibrillation.
Defibrillators treat arrhythmias in two ways: in the first instance the device tries to stop the abnormal rhythm with a burst of high speed pacing. If that fails, the device will deliver an electrical shock to the heart to reset its rhythm. Patients are usually not aware of cardioversion and nearly always aware of defibrillation. It is also capable of collecting and storing information about your heart’s electrical activity for your cardiologist to check. Cardiologist will program the defibrillator to deliver the best therapy for you.
The AICD gives your heart a shock if you suspect life threatening arrhythmias or an abnormally high heart rate. Some arrhythmias can cause the heart to completely stop beating. The shock given by the AICD can make the heart start beating normally again. An AICD can also make your heart beat faster if your heart is not beating fast enough.
The AICD System Consists of:
A small computer chip that tells the AICD when to deliver a shock
Batteries designed to last 4 to 5 years and deliver about 100 shocks
A pulse generator that can send an electrical impulse or shock to the heart
Electrodes that sense the rhythm of the heart and deliver a shock to the heart muscle
Doctor can also program the AICD to deliver a variety of sophisticated electrical therapies depending on the type of abnormal rhythm problem being treated.
An intravenous (IV) line will be started in your arm. Your doctor will inject a local anesthetic to numb the site where the device will be placed. Typically AICDs are implanted just under the collarbone, usually on the left side. Your doctor will make a small incision in the skin. From there, lead wires are passed through a vein to your heart and then tested to check their position in your heart. A little pocket is made under the skin for the pulse generator. It is about the size of a book of matches. The leads are connected to the pulse generator, and tested. Then your doctor will close the incision and program the device.
Potential Risks or Complications Associated with the Implantation:
The procedure is extremely safe, with a low risk of complication. Most complications are minor and easily treated, such as pain, bleeding and bruising at the implant site.
An infrequent complication is pneumothorax, a condition when the lung is accidentally punctured during the insertion of the lead. Air then leaks into the chest cavity, causing the lung to collapse. This condition can be treated with insertion of a chest tube to allow the air to escape and the lung to re-expand.
A rare but serious complication is infection of the implant site or the pulse generator/lead, requiring antibiotic therapy and even surgical removal of the entire AICD system if severe.
Factors that may Increase the Risk of Complications Include:
History of smoking
Use of certain medications
Chronic diseases such as diabetes
Bleeding or blood-clotting problems
History of excess alcohol consumption
Have chest pain or shortness of breath
Feel lightheaded and do not feel a shock
Call for medical help right away if you experience above life threatening symptoms. Seek counsel from our Heart Doctors in Houston for the best treatment options for you.
Visit us at: www.advancedcardiodr.com|Call: +1 281-866-7701