UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Cardiology

Title: AICDs

Keywords: AICD, shock (PubMed Search)

Posted: 12/16/2007 by Amal Mattu, MD (Updated: 7/10/2020)
Click here to contact Amal Mattu, MD

What do you do if a patient with an AICD presents to the ED with a shock? 

If the patient receives a single shock and is otherwise asymptomatic and fine, there is probably no need for intervention (or even an ED visit). For the patient in the ED, monitor them and discuss with their cardiologist. Consider checking some labs, but emergent pacer evaluation is not generally necessary (unless there are other concerning issues--abnormal rhythms on monitor, complaints of lightheadedness and preceding chest pain, etc.). You should manage and treat the patient for other symptoms and signs, but not for the shock itself.

If the patient received multiple shocks, however, device interrogation is generally required. Also search for the underlying cause--ischemia, electrolyte abnormalities, etc. Bear in mind that most of the time, multiple shocks are later deemed to be inappropriate (device error).

Post-shock ECG will likely show ST segment changes but they normalize within 15 minutes.

15-20% of the time there will be some TN-I elevation for up to 24 hours due to a shock.