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Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibillator (AICD)

The AICD is an implantable electronic device designed to monitor heart rhythm and determine if it is abnormal and needs correction. If the AICD senses that the rhythm is abnormal, it will deliver an "internal" shock(s) to the heart to correct the problem. The unit then resets itself.

The AICD is a pulse generator about the size and shape of a deck of cards and weighs about 1/2 pound. The pulse generator is placed in the abdomen just underneath the skin and is connected to the heart by leads. The lead system sends electrical signals from the heart to the pulse generator, which continuously monitors the heart rhythm.

The AICD implant involves an operation. Physicians make the decision about what kind of surgery is best based on:

  • The patient’s size and body shape
  • If the patient has already had chest surgery
  • What kind of lead or leads will be used

What to expect during this procedure

  • A medication is given intravenously to relax you.
  • An incision is made under the collarbone.
  • The leads are placed into a vein and guided inside your heart chamber.
  • The pulse generator is placed in the upper chest near the shoulder just underneath the skin and is connected to the heart by leads.

What to expect after this procedure

  • Your heart rate, pulse and blood pressure will be closely monitored after your procedure.
  • You will be admitted to the hospital, usually for one to three days.
  • The morning after your procedure your AICD will be checked to ensure proper programming and positioning.
  • You will have a slight bulge under the skin where the generator is located.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing or a tight belt to avoid irritation of your wounds.

Returning home
If you have any questions about your care after you return home, call your physician’s office.

This test or treatment is offered at these facilities:

To find a physician visit our Find a Doc or call (502) 629-1234 for a physician referral.

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