The Automatic Implantable Defibrillator: New Modality for Treatment of Life‐Threatening Ventricular Arrhythmias


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New Modality for treatment of life‐threatening ventricular arrhythmias. The automatic implantable defibrillator continuously monitors cardiac rhythm, identifies ventricuiar fibrillation and then delivers corrective defibrillatory discharges when indicated: it weighs 250 grams and has a volume of 145 cc. When a suitable arrhythmia is detected, a 25 Joule pulse is delivered through a superior vena cava catheter electrode and another electrode placed over the cardiac apex. As oj March 1981, sixteen survivors of multiple cardiac arrests refractory io antiarrhythmic therapy had undergone implantation of the automatic defibrillator. There was no operative mortality and the morbidity was minimal. Electrophysiologic studies were performed before and after surgery to confirm failure of drug therapy and to ensure the device's ability to terminate malignant arrhythmias. Eight spontaneous and fourteen of the seventeen induced malignant arrhythmias were properly recognized and corrected by the device. The discharges were well tolerated by awake patients. A number of problems including recycling delays and spurious discharges have been identified and corrected. There were three late deaths with pulmonary edema noted in two patients, and asystole in one. The autopsies revealed no myocardial damage attributable to the automatic defibrillator. Although the ultimate role of this approach to prevention of sudden arrhythmic death has yet to be determined, the results obtained to date are encouraging and indicate that a useful modality for treating malignant ventricular arrhythmias has been added to our armamentarium. (PACE, Vol. 5, May‐June, 1982)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-401
Number of pages18
JournalPacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1982


  • automatic implantable defibrillator
  • malignant ventricular arrhythmias
  • sudden death
  • ventricular fibrillation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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