• An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (AICD) is a device that is implanted in the chest to monitor for and, if necessary, correct episodes of rapid heartbeat. If the heartbeat gets too fast (ventricular tachycardia), the AICD will stimulate the heart to restore a normal rhythm. In cases where the heartbeat is so rapid that the person may die (ventricular fibrillation), the AICD will also give an electric shock (defibrillation) to “reset” the heartbeat.
• The AICD is implanted into the chest of the patient during a minor surgical procedure (not open-heart surgery). Once the AICD is in place, it runs on batteries for about four to seven years, depending on how often an electric shock is discharged. AICD batteries will not run out unexpectedly. Physicians can detect when the battery is running low during a routine office visit.