If you have Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) or a serious heart arrhythmia, you may need a cardiac pacemaker or automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillator (AICD) implanted in your chest or abdomen. Although this is a minor surgery, you may be advised in the hospital a day or two following the procedure so your cardiologist and your health care team can assure the device is working properly.
If your heart rhythm needs to be regulated, a pacemaker may be implanted in your chest. The small device is connected to your heart by wires; it uses batteries to send electrical pulses that prompt a normal heartbeat. A pacemaker can speed up or slow down the heart rhythm as needed.
An AICD (or ICD) monitors heart rhythms for patients who have had a heart attack, have heart failure, or sustained ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation. If you have an AICD, the device will deliver an electrical shock, called defibrillation, if you start having life threatening arrhythmias or an abnormally high heart rate.
Several types of AICDs exist but all have electrodes as well as a generator that provides battery power and stores information about any arrhythmia you may experience. Many AICDs now function as both a pacemaker and a defibrillator.