n implantable cardioverter defibrillator, known as an AICD, is a type of mechanical device implanted in the chest to help regulate and monitor the heartbeat. The device is similar to a pacemaker, in that it has "leads" that are situated inside the heart muscle or on the surface of the heart muscle to deliver small electric shocks that help pace the heart rhythm as well as read its function.
How Does an AICD Work?
The implantable cardioverter defibrillator utilizes wires or "leads" that are situated inside the heart muscle. These leads are connected to what is called a pulse generator, or the major portion of the device, usually implanted under the skin in the abdomen or chest.
About the size of the deck of cards, the generator is capable of monitoring and correcting abnormal heart rhythm. Continuous advancements in technology are creating smaller devices that can actually be inserted through the blood vessels in minimally invasive surgical procedures.
If the defibrillator or generator identifies fibrillation, or ventricular tachycardia, meaning a faster heartbeat in the lower chambers of the heart, the device emits a small electrical shock that startles the heart and encourages it to restore normal rhythm.
An AICD can be programmed to recognize an accelerated as well as a slowed heart rate and adapts electrical impulses to the heart muscle accordingly. The AICD is battery-operated, and the length of life of the battery is determined by preprogrammed settings of the generator. Replacing AICD batteries is a simple procedure that can be completed in under an hour.
Individuals who have been diagnosed with sustained ventricular tachycardia, also known as ventricular fibrillation, as well as individuals diagnosed to be at a high risk of ventricular arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rates may benefit from the installation of an AICD.
Cardiac surgeons must meet basic requirements and training for certification in various cardiac fields and techniques, as well as specialties. A cardiac surgery resident may stand anywhere from five to ten years training to become a fully qualified surgeon in cardiac surgery and procedures. Cardiothoracic surgeons typically complete a five-year general surgery residency, followed by two to three years of specialization in cardiothoracic surgeries. Various licensing boards that certify surgeons in cardiac surgery as well as subspecialties differ per country of origin. When looking for qualified cardiac surgeons in any country, look to national and statewide boards, associations, and memberships in specific cardiovascular specialties.
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