The automatic implantable defibrillator is an electronic device programmed to monitor the cardiac rhythm continuously, to recognize ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachyarrhythmias characterized by sinusoidal waveform, and to deliver corrective difibrillatory discharges when indicated. Three patients suffering from recurrent malignant ventricular arrhythmias refractory to medical therapy underwent permanent implantation of this device. Seven episodes of ventricular tachycardia and flutter-fibrillation were documented during the weeks following the implantations; two were induced at electrophysiologic studies and five occurred spontaneously. All were correctly identified and six were automatically reverted to normal sinus rhythm by the implanted device; one induced episode was cardioverted externally before the unit could recycle. Although many problems remain to be solved and the ultimate value of this therapeutic modality has to be determined, a new approach to prevention of sudden death in patients at high risk of developing lethal ventricular arrhythmias has become available.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine