The automatic implantable cardioverter/defibrillator is a device that can be implanted in patients for treatment of recurrent ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. It was recently approved for clinical use in Canada. The authors describe their experience with 12 patients (mean age 51.3 years) who underwent implantation of a defibrillator. All 12 patients had a history of documented ventricular fibrillation, which was idiopathic in 3 and due to ischemic heart disease in 9. Electrophysiologic testing revealed inducible ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation in 8 of the 10 patients tested. An important criterion for selection for implantation was failure of pharmacologic therapy to suppress ventricular arrhythmias induced during electrophysiologic testing. Of the 12 patients, 1 died within 24 hours after implantation. During a mean follow-up period of 15.5 months there were no further deaths. All the surviving patients expressed satisfaction with the device; five of the seven under the age of 60 years have returned to work, and one has returned to school. This initial favourable experience with the automatic implantable cardioverter/defibrillator suggests that future increases in the availability of the device and improvements in its function will lead to much more widespread use, as the population of patients at risk of sudden cardiac death is large.