II. Background: Device (AICD)

  1. Device discharges current when triggered by life-threatening Arrhythmia
    1. Depending on rhythm, device responds
      1. Over-drive pacing (antitachycardia pacing) OR
      2. Low-energy Synchronized Cardioversion (5 Joules) OR
      3. Low-energy Defibrillation mode (30-45 Joules)
    2. AICDs also have Pacemaker functionality
      1. Base rate of 30-40 beats per minute
  2. Pacemaker-like device with high capacity battery and capacitor
    1. Typical ICDs are 50-120 grams (30-70 ml volume) with 4-9 year battery life
    2. ICD Lead in the right ventricular apex
      1. Defibrillator coils in right ventricle and superior vena cava
    3. Pacing leads
      1. Right atrial lead
      2. Left ventricular pacing lead at the coronary sinus (biventricular ICD or resynchronization devices)
    4. Devices contain an antenna that can transmit events to a home monitoring device
      1. Monitoring device may in turn transmit to a triage clinician
      2. Sends the device discharge and the associated rhythm
  3. Implantation procedure
    1. Device placed in upper left chest below clavicle
    2. Transvenous threading of leads
    3. Defibrillator is tested during implantation by triggering Arrhythmia
    4. Placement in 1-2 hours by electrophysiology, cardiology, or cardiothoracic surgery
    5. Major complications: 1.5%
      1. Hematoma
      2. Displaced lead
      3. Pneumothorax

III. Precautions

  1. Optimal medical therapy is critical
    1. See Congestive Heart Failure
  2. MRI scans have been historically contraindicated
    1. Devices manufactured after 2000 are considered safe (after first 6 weeks)
    2. Avoid MRI with 6 weeks of placement due to device dislodgement
    3. Set AICD to minimal settings (reset after scan)
    4. Risk of lead heating, VT induction
    5. AICD may distort images
    6. EKG monitoring during procedure
    7. Nazarian (2013) Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 6(2): 419-28 [PubMed]

IV. Indications: Primary prevention for Cardiomyopathy (Class I recommendations)

  1. Ischemic Cardiomyopathy
    1. NYHA Class I: Ejection Fraction <30%
    2. NYHA Class II: Ejection Fraction <35%
    3. Inducible VT/VF on EPS with Ejection Fraction <40%
  2. Non-ischemic Dilated Cardiomyopathy
    1. NYHA Class I: Ejection Fraction <35% (consider)
    2. NYHA Class II-III: Ejection Fraction <35%

V. Indications: Secondary Prevention (Class I recommendations)

  1. Structural heart disease and history of spontaneous, sustained Ventricular Tachycardia
  2. Cardiac Arrest survivor (after exclusion of completely reversible causes)
    1. Ventricular Fibrillation
    2. Unstable Ventricular Tachycardia
  3. Unexplained Syncope with inducible VT/VF by EPS
  4. Structural abnormalities predisposing to Ventricular Tachycardia (Class IIa recommendation)
    1. Brugada Syndrome with Syncope or Ventricular Tachycardia history
    2. One of more risk factors for Sudden Cardiac Death AND
      1. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy or
      2. Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD)

VI. Contraindications

  1. Last revascularization procedure within 3 months
  2. Last Myocardial Infarction within 40 days
  3. Life Expectancy <1 year
  4. Arrhythmia otherwise treatable with catheter ablation or other procedure (e.g. WPW)

VII. Management: Troubleshooting other ICD problems

  1. See Implanted Cardiac Defibrillator Infection
  2. Oversensing
    1. See below
    2. Results in shock delivered based on non-VT stimulus (e.g. muscle Fasciculations, SVT)
  3. Undersensing
    1. Failure to terminate VT/VF
    2. Presents with Palpitations, Dizziness, Syncope
    3. May indicate displaced lead, AICD malfunction, change in defib threshold or delivered shock strength
  4. Altered Defibrillation threshold
    1. Typically set at the time of AICD implantation based on testing
    2. Threshold may be altered by Electrolytes, acid-base, Hypoxemia, CHF, Antiarrhythmics

VIII. Management: Patient has received shock with device

  1. See Cardiac Electrical Storm
  2. Indications for immediate evaluation and monitoring (typically admitted)
    1. More than one shock delivered
    2. Cardiovascular (e.g. Chest Pain) or other systemic symptoms immediately preceded the shock
    3. Syncope
  3. Disposition
    1. Immediate emergency department evaluation for indications as listed above
    2. Routine cardiology clinic follow-up in 24 hours is sufficient if no emergent indications
  4. Evaluation
    1. See Pacemaker for evaluation of devices with Chest XRay, Electrocardiogram and Interrogation
    2. Interrogate device
      1. Identify triggering rhythm (e.g. Ventricular Tachycardia)
      2. Identify rhythms for which shock would be inappropriate triggers
        1. Sinus Tachycardia
        2. Atrial Fibrillation with rapid ventricular rate
      3. Identify triggers not due to Dysrhythmia
        1. Muscle Fasciculations
        2. Electromagnetic interference
    3. Diagnostics
      1. Electrocardiogram
      2. Serum Electrolytes
      3. Chest XRay
        1. Evaluate for lead displacement or lead Fracture
      4. Troponin
        1. Anticipate elevation associated with Defibrillation event
        2. However, Troponins that continue to rise may indicate Acute Coronary Syndrome
  5. Management
    1. See Cardiac Electrical Storm
    2. Unstable patient with multiple shocks delivered (or Cardiac Arrest)
      1. Rapid assessment per ACLS protocol (assume appropriate shocks)
      2. Avoid applying external Defibrillator pads directly over the AICD pocket (within 10 cm of pocket)
      3. CPR may be performed despite AICD shocks (voltage is too low to harm rescuers)
      4. Evaluate for causes of persistent ventricular Dysrhythmias (See 6H6T)
      5. Central venous access should be placed on opposite side of the AICD
        1. Anticipate ipsilateral chronic thrombosis of the central veins on the AICD side
    3. Stable patient with multiple shocks delivered (Electrical Storm)
      1. Electrical Storm is defined as >3 episodes of sustained VT, VF or appropriate AICD shocks
        1. Two or more appropriate shocks in a 24 hour period is a high risk of death
      2. Evaluate for CHF, ACS, Electrolyte abnormalities, Hyperthyroidism
      3. Initiate Antiarrhythmics (e.g. Amiodarone) in Consultation with cardiology
      4. Admit patients for further monitoring, management
    4. Stable patient with an appropriate shock delivered
      1. Admit or observe as per indications above
      2. Discharge home with cardiology follow-up after underlying causes excluded
    5. Stable patient with an inappropriate shock delivered
      1. Continuous telemetry monitoring
      2. Disable the device and monitor if multiple shocks were delivered
        1. Tape magnet over the device (see below)
        2. Apply transcutaneous pads (at least 10-15 cm from device) in case of lethal Dysrhythmia
  6. References
    1. Jones and Orman in Majoewsky (2012) EM:Rap 12(5): 4-6

IX. Management: Turning off device

  1. Monitor on telemetry while device deactivated
  2. Indications
    1. Emergency surgery
      1. Consult with electrophysiology if adequate time
    2. Palliative Care
      1. Device may repeatedly apply shocks at end-of-life (before device can be formally turned off)
    3. Multiple inappropriate shocks
    4. During Central Line Placement (prevent inappropriately triggered shocks)
    5. Transcutaneous Pacing
  3. Older device response to magnet
    1. Device deactivated by applying a large magnet (typically doughnut shaped) over the device
      1. Device will only be disabled as long as magnet is over the device
      2. Consider taping magnet in place
    2. Device reactivated by removing magnet
      1. Device will reactivate within 10 seconds
  4. Newer device response to magnet
    1. Device is deactivated by applying magnet
      1. Device beeps with each QRS for 30 seconds
      2. Device then emits a continuous tone when disabled
      3. Once disabled, the magnet may be removed
    2. Device is reactivated by applying magnet
      1. Device beeps with each QRS with magnet applied to signify reactivation
      2. Magnet may be removed after device reactivated

X. Efficacy

  1. High risk patients (see above) have a significant mortality reduction (30-55%) with AICD placement
    1. Moss (2002) N Engl J Med 346(12): 877-83 [PubMed]
    2. Moss (1996) N Engl J Med 335(26): 1933-40 [PubMed]

XI. Complications: Acute complications associated with placement

  1. See Cardiac Pacemaker
  2. Thrombosis
    1. Affects axillary, subclavian, innominate, veins and superior vena cava
    2. Chronic thrombosis is common, and typically asymptomatic (occurs in 50% of ICD placements)
    3. Acute thrombosis is less common (<3.5%) presenting with ipsilateral arm swelling

XII. References

  1. Mallemat, Swaminathan and Egan in Herbert (2014) EM:Rap 14(10): 5-7
  2. Vanlandingham (2015) Crit Dec Emerg Med 29(10): 2-14
  3. Myerburg (2008) N Engl J Med 359(21): 2245-53 [PubMed]
  4. Stevenson (2006) J Card Fail 12(6): 407-12 [PubMed]
  5. Turakhia (2010) Am Fam Physician 82(11): 1357-66 [PubMed]

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Related Studies

Ontology: Implantable defibrillator (C0162589)

Definition (UMD) Defibrillators that are permanently inserted (implanted) either abdominally or pectorally and are connected to the patient's heart through a set of epicardial or transversal leads. These defibrillators consist of a hermetically sealed container, including a lightweight battery, electronic circuitry to sense cardiac activity and produce the electrical pulses (shocks), and electrode leads that conduct the myocardial signals to the defibrillator and the electrical defibrillating pulses to the patient, when needed. Implantable defibrillators are used to sense ventricular fibrillation and initiate defibrillation by applying an electric shock to the heart to depolarize the myocardium. Some of these stimulators have memory modules for storage and retrieval of the cardiac electrical activity, and some have programmable capabilities.
Definition (UMD) Implantable defibrillators that can also sense and provide corrective action for ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation by applying low-level synchronized electrical countershocks (cardioversion). Some of these stimulators have memory modules for storage and retrieval of the cardiac electrical activity and programmable capabilities.
Definition (NCI_CDISC) A battery-powered electrical impulse generator implanted in patients at risk of sudden cardiac death to detect cardiac arrhythmia and correct it by delivering a jolt of electricity.
Definition (NCI_NCI-GLOSS) A small device used to correct a heartbeat that is abnormal (too fast, too slow, or irregular). The device is placed by surgery in the chest or abdomen. Wires are passed through a vein to connect the device to the heart. When it detects abnormal heartbeats, it sends an electrical shock to the heart to restore the heartbeat to normal.
Definition (MSH) Implantable devices which continuously monitor the electrical activity of the heart and automatically detect and terminate ventricular tachycardia (TACHYCARDIA, VENTRICULAR) and VENTRICULAR FIBRILLATION. They consist of an impulse generator, batteries, and electrodes.
Definition (CSP) implantable devices which continuously monitor the electrical activity of the heart and automatically detect and terminate ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation; consists of an impulse generator, batteries, and electrodes.
Concepts Medical Device (T074)
MSH D017147
SnomedCT 72506001
English Cardioverter-Defibrillators, Implantable, Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators, Implantable Defibrillators, Defibrillators, Implantable, Cardioverter Defibrillators, Implantable, Cardioverter-Defibrillator, Implantable, Defibrillator, Implantable, Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators, Implantable Defibrillator, Defibrillators, Automatic, Defibrillators, Automatic, Implantable, ICDs, Defibrillator/Cardioverters, Implantable, Automatic Internal Defibrillators, Defibrillators, Internal, Implantable Cardioverter/Defibrillators, Implantable defibrillator, device, implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (treatment), ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator), defibrillator implantable, automatic defibrillator, implantable defibrillators, internal defibrillators, implantable defibrillator, internal defibrillator, automatic defibrillators, icds, Implantable defibrillator, Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator, Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator, ICD, Implantable defibrillator, device (physical object)
Spanish Desfibriladores de Cardioversión Implantables, Desfibriladores Implantables, desfibrilador implantable (objeto físico), desfibrilador implantable
Swedish Defibrillatorer, implanterbara
Czech kardioverter-defibrilátory implantabilní, defibrilátory implantabilní
Finnish Implantoitavat defibrillaattorit
Japanese 植込み型除細動器, 植込み型電気除細動器, 植込型除細動器, 植込型電気的除細動器, 除細動器-植込み型, 植込み型電気的除細動器, 除細動器-植込型, 電気的除細動器-植込型, 電気除細動器-植込み型
French Défibrillateurs cardiovecteurs implantables, DAI (Défibrillateur Automatique Implantable), Défibrillateurs automatiques implantables, Défibrillateurs implantables
Italian ICD, Cardiovertitori defibrillatori impiantabili, Defibrillatori impiantabili
Polish Defibrylatory implantowane, Kardiowertery i defibrylatory implantowane
Norwegian Implanterbar defibrillator, Hjertestarter, ICD
German Defibrillatoren, implantierbare, Implantierbare Defibrillatoren, Implantierbare Kardioverter-Defibrillatoren, Kardioverter-Defibrillatoren, implantierbare
Dutch Defibrillator, implanteerbare, Defibrillatoren, implanteerbare, Implanteerbare defibrillator, Implanteerbare defibrillatoren
Portuguese Cardioversores-Desfibriladores Implantáveis, Desfibriladores Implantáveis