THE development of a clinically applicable, automatic, implantable defibrillator has been described previously.1 This electronic device is designed to monitor cardiac electrical activity, to recognize ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachyarrhythmias with a sinusoidal wave form, and then to deliver corrective defibrillatory discharges. It is intended to protect patients at particularly high risk of sudden death whenever and wherever they are stricken by these lethal arrhythmias. After extensive preclinical testing, 2 a pilot study of this new technique was recently initiated at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. This article decribes the first three patients in whom the automatic defibrillator was implanted to manage.
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