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January 1988

The Automatic Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator: Clinical Experience, Complications, and Follow-up in 25 Patients

Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(1):70-76. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380010074007

• Twenty-five patients with recurrent ventricular tachyarrhythmias underwent implantation of an automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. The mean length of follow-up was 11.9±10.8 months. Before the implantation, the patients had survived one or more cardiac arrests (mean, 1.7; range, 1 to 4) and episodes of syncope (mean, 2.2; range, 2 to 3) and had received 6.0±1.0 antiarrhythmic drug trials. The in-hospital complications included death (two patients), reoperation (one patient), intraoperative myocardial infarction (one patient), sensing-failure (one patient), infection (five patients), and pocket seroma (two patients). The posthospital complications included device failure (four patients), device deactivation (one patient), and inappropriate discharge (two patients). The device discharged appropriately in seven patients due to sustained ventricular tachycardia. During electrophysiologic measurements, the energy requirement for successful cardioversion-defibrillation was related to the type of ventricular arrhythmia induced (monomorphic or pleomorphic ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation). Ventricular tachycardia acceleration occurred in ten patients (40%). No significant changes were found in the size of the electrograms or in the cardioversion threshold during early and late follow-up measurements. Life table analysis showed a 12-month survival rate of 86% and an arrhythmic death survival rate of 100%. We confirm the improved rate of survival in this high-risk group of patients, despite significant complications.

(Arch Intern Med 1988;142:70-76)