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Use of a Defibrillator for Saving a Life

Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death throughout the world but can be treated with the quick administering of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation. This blog post outlines what the use of a defibrillator is for and how this medical device can save the life of a sudden cardiac victim.

When is a Defibrillator Needed?

The most frequent treatment for sudden cardiac arrest is defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator. Many life-threatening arrhythmias can lead to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) but can be treated with electrical therapy applied to the heart.

Automated External Defibrillators (AED)

Both ventricular tachycardia (V-Tach) which is a dangerously fast heartbeat and ventricular fibrillation (V-Fib) which is an irregular and rapid heartbeat are caused by a heart rhythm abnormality.

When your heart rate drops suddenly, it’s known as cardiac arrest. It is imperative that you get the victim’s heart’s regular ECG rhythm back to normal as quickly as possible. The brain and other vital organs must have oxygen to survive.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) applied with compressions to the victim’s chest will improve the chances of surviving an attack if given soon after cardiac arrest.

Defibrillation is usually the only therapy that can restore a normal heart rhythm following cardiac arrest. When these therapies are administered together, their efficacy may be enhanced by 30%.

Must be a Shockable Rhythm

Note an AED does not always apply a shock to SCA patients. Sometimes the victim does not have what is called a shockable rhythm. Sometimes the patient is having a heart attack or a condition such as an asystole. Asystole is the absence of any heart rhythm and typically can not be treated with an AED.

What is Defibrillation

A defibrillator is a life-saving technology that can save someone who has suffered cardiac arrest. A defibrillator delivers a shock to the heart, depolarizing a significant portion of cardiac muscle and ending all forms of arrhythmia. After the body’s natural pacemaker in the sinoatrial node of the heart.

What is Defibrillation

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

SCA is defined as the abrupt loss of heart function. This causes an irregular or ineffective heartbeat which quickly leads to death if not treated immediately with CPR and a defibrillator.

SCA can be triggered by a number of different things including coronary heart disease, electrocution, and other various traumatic injuries. However, SCA is one of the main killers of young athletes.

Ventricular fibrillation (VF)

VF is the most common cause of cardiac arrest (CA), and defibrillation is the best treatment when a person has VF. Because closing VF and restarting spontaneous circulation is almost impossible with chest compression alone, immediate defibrillation is essential for boosting survival rates in ventricular fibrillation.

Ventricular fibrillation (VF)

Furthermore, the defibrillation success rate, return of spontaneous circulation rate, and resuscitation success rate diminish with increasing VF duration. Experimental data suggest that successful defibrillation is linked to the time it takes to defibrillate; for each minute after treatment is delayed, the resuscitation success rate decreases by 7–10 percent.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is administered until further measures can be taken by using a defibrillator machine to shock the heart back into regular sinus rhythm for proper cardiac blood flow when suffering from cardiac arrest.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is defined as the act of using chest compressions and artificial ventilation to manually help circulate blood around the body in order for it to deliver oxygen.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

There are two different types of CPR; one is used on adults while there is another specifically designed for children. These procedures can be lifesaving if administered properly but, unfortunately, according to a 2012 study by The American Heart Association (AHA), only 32% of bystander-witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrests received CPR prior to EMS arrival which was an increase from 2010’s statistic at 29%. However, when bystanders did administer CPR before medical professionals arrived, survival rates increased up to 50%.

Automated External Defibrillators (AED)

The AED was invented in the 1970s by Dr. William Kouwenhoven but did not become available until 1985 after being approved by the FDA for public use. The AED uses voice prompts to guide bystanders through administering both CPR and defibrillation shock with its self-adhesive pads that are placed on either side of the heart in order to initiate proper heart rhythm and to restore blood and oxygen throughout the body.

Automated External Defibrillators (AED)

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is defined as an electronic device that monitors cardiac rhythms and advises when a rhythm may be fatal requiring administration of electricity via adhesive pads attached to it prior to or during resuscitation efforts such as chest compressions or mouth-to-mouth ventilation.

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators(ICD)

An ICD is a device that can be placed in the chest or abdomen of individuals who are at high risk for ventricular fibrillation. This is a good option for those suffering from SCA as it will continuously monitor heart rhythm and if necessary, deliver needed shocks to treat life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.

The implantable cardioverter-defibrillator is different than an AED because the ICD is internal and the AED is external to the body. An ICD can be implanted in both adults and children who are at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.

The ICD monitors heart rhythm continuously to detect if any dangerous arrhythmias are occurring, such as ventricular fibrillation or rapid ventricular tachycardia. If the ICD detects an abnormally fast or slow heartbeat it will deliver an electrical impulse to help control heart rhythm and restore it back to normal.

How does an AED work?

An AED detects a heart rhythm and then delivers an electric shock to re-synchronize ventricular fibrillation or asystole, depending on the type of arrhythmia detected.

The irregular heart rhythm caused by ventricular fibrillation is also known as cardiac arrhythmia. It is a type of cardiac arrhythmia in which the electrical activity of the heart becomes disorganized, resulting in inefficient pumping of blood around the body.

How does an AED work?

The term asystole is used to describe a heartbeat failure caused by a complete lack of electrical impulses from damaged tissues in order for it to contract.

When utilized immediately, automated external defibrillation has been found to raise the chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest by almost 70 percent.

An AED should be accessible in public places such as schools, malls, gyms, airports, and other high-traffic areas since it is a secure and user-friendly gadget.

Is An AED Right For Your Home?

Having an AED in your home can give you peace of mind and may help save your life for certain individuals with a heightened risk of cardiac arrest. Here are some things to think about as you weigh whether or not to purchase an automated external defibrillator.

Do You Live With Someone? 

If you have a cardiac arrest, you’ll need someone to assist you with the AED. And the individual must be agile enough to get on the floor and rise up again. If you live alone or if your spouse can’t climb down and up, a home AED might not be worth it.

Your Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death

If you’re at high risk of fatal cardiac arrhythmia due to a specific heart rhythm abnormality, your doctor will almost certainly prescribe an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) rather than an AED. A pacemaker is different than a defibrillator and an ICD that’s implanted in your chest and linked to your heart via a wire that can deliver an electric shock when required.

It is Hard To Argue Not Having an AED

The numbers don’t lie. If you can get an AED to the victim of SCA within the first 3 minutes of their episode, your chances of survival are greatly increased.

AED Accesibitlity is Key

Ambulance and police vehicles carry AEDs, which are accessible in a variety of public locations, including shopping malls, corporate offices, sports arenas, gyms, and airplanes. However, more cardiac arrests occur at home in out of hospital settings than in any other place, making it possible for a homeowner AED to save minutes in resuscitating someone suffering from cardiac arrest.

The average response time in the United States from Emergency Medical Services is 11 minutes. A typical person will suffer brain damage and death after 10 minutes without oxygen.

Start CPR immediately by applying compressions to the person’s chest as well as quick defibrillation from a home AED can be a lifesaver and may dramatically increase the survival rate of the SCA victim.

The Importance of an Automated External Defibrillator

The automated defibrillator is a vital link in the chain of survival, as it is the first line of defense. The chain of survival is a set of techniques for treating life-threatening situations. Any individual can have a cardiac arrest at any moment.

  1. Immediately call 911
  2. Immediately perform CPR to circulate blood throughout the body and to deliver oxygen to vital organs
  3. Immediate defibrillation with an AED, delayed defibrillation can result in the death of the SCA victim
  4. Early advanced care by emergency services and/or emergency help

The AED shock can be delivered by anybody, including non-medical personnel and those who have received CPR training. In fact, most SCAs occur in out-of-hospital settings in homes or businesses. Anyone with basic CPR or experience delivering an AED shock may administer one.

The Importance of an Automated External Defibrillator

Every minute that a person goes without being defibrillated after cardiac arrest has a 95 percent decreased chance of survival. When an AED machine is accessible.


As the number of people with heart disease increases throughout the world, so does the prevalence of sudden cardiac arrest.

When someone suffers from this life-threatening emergency, their chance of survival is greatly increased when CPR and early defibrillation are used in tandem to treat them.

Defibrillators can be found anywhere that there is an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) machine or one on-site. It takes just a few minutes for these devices to deliver life-saving shocks to restart someone’s heartbeat after it has stopped due to sudden cardiac arrest.

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