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Why is Defibrillator Voltage Important

When someone goes into cardiac arrest, it is vital that they receive an electrical shock from a defibrillator as soon as possible. The voltage of the defibrillator is an important factor in whether or not the shock will be successful in restoring the heart’s normal rhythm. This article will outline what you need to know about the voltage a defibrillator delivers and why it is important.

What is a defibrillator?

A defibrillator is a device that gives a high-energy electrical shock to the heart. This shock can stop the heart from beating in a chaotic way and allow it to start again with a normal rhythm.

Defibrillators are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA is when the heart suddenly stops beating. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. This can lead to sudden cardiac death within minutes if not treated immediately.

Modern defibrillators can be found in many public places, such as airports, shopping malls, and sports arenas. They are also often kept on hand by first responders, such as police officers and firefighters.

If you witness someone having SCA, call 911 immediately and ask if there is a defibrillator nearby. If there is, follow the instructions on how to use it. You do not need to be trained in order to use a defibrillator, as they are designed to be easy to use.

What is a Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating. This is usually caused by an electrical problem in the heart. SCA is a medical emergency. If it is not treated immediately, it can lead to sudden cardiac death.

What is a Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Ventricular Fibrillation and SCA

The most common cause of SCA is an abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF). VF is a chaotic, erratic heart rhythm that prevents the heart from pumping blood. When this happens, blood flow to the brain and other vital organs stops. Ventricular fibrillation can lead to unconsciousness and death within minutes if not treated immediately.

Ventricular Tachycardia (VT)

Ventricular Tachycardia is a condition in which the heart’s ventricles beat too quickly which can result in heart attack, stroke, or sudden cardiac arrest. The normal heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute. VT can cause the heart rate to increase to 180 beats per minute or more. This can be dangerous because it can prevent the heart from pumping enough blood to the rest of the body. VT can be caused by a variety of things, including heart disease, electrical problems in the heart, drug abuse, stress, or caffeine. It is important to seek medical attention if you think you are experiencing VT. Treatment for VT may include medications, cardioversion (shock therapy), or surgery. In some cases, a

Electrical cardioversion is a procedure in which a shock is delivered to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat. Ablation is a procedure in which the abnormal tissue that is causing VT is destroyed.

VT is treated with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and should be followed with early defibrillation from an AED. VT is sometimes treated with medications, electrical cardioversion, and/or ablation. Medications can be used to slow the heart rate and control symptoms of VT.

SCA can happen to anyone at any time, even people who seem healthy with no known heart problems. That’s why it’s important to know the warning signs and what to do if someone has a sudden cardiac arrest.

Warning signs of SCA include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Sudden collapse

If you see someone collapse suddenly and they are not breathing or they don’t have a pulse, call 911 right away and start cardiopulmonary resuscitation. CPR chest compressions can help keep oxygen-rich blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until emergency medical help arrives.

Different arrhythmias can cause SCA. Arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms. Some arrhythmias, such as ventricular fibrillation, happen suddenly and without warning. Other arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation (AFib), happen gradually over time and may have symptoms that can be treated.

How does a defibrillator work?

A defibrillator works by delivering a high-energy electric shock to the heart. This shock can stop the heart from beating in an irregular fashion and allow it to resume a normal rhythm.

How does a defibrillator work

Defibrillators are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). With an SCA victim, the heart can’t pump normally and blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. SCA is a medical emergency that can lead to death if not treated right away.

Defibrillators can be used by trained laypersons and by medical professionals. Laypersons include family members, friends, co-workers, and bystanders. Medical professionals include paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), EMS personnel, and nurses.

Automated External Defibrillators AEDs come in two types: fully automatic and semi-automatic. Fully automatic AEDs will automatically deliver a shock to the heart if it detects a shockable heart rhythm. A Semi-automatic AED (sometimes referred to as a manual defibrillator) requires the responder to push a button to deliver the shock.

All automated external defibrillators AEDs have verbal prompts that guide the responder through the process of using the device. Most also have visual prompts, such as lights or pictures so they can be used on a suspected SCA victim with little or no training. Note that a victim of SCA is not always revived with a single shock and it often requires multiple shocks.

An AED delivers the shock through self-adhesive electrodes applied to the patient’s chest where an electrical impulse is delivered through the body to the heart muscle hopefully restoring the patient’s heart rhythm.

When a person has SCA, time is of the essence. Every minute that passes without recitation decreases the chance of survival by 10%. For this reason, it is important to have external defibrillators readily available in public places and businesses.

To use external defibrillators, the rescuer first turns on the device and follows the voice or video instructions. The portable external defibrillator or AED will then analyze the heart’s rhythm. If a shock is needed, the AED will tell the rescuer to press a button to deliver the shock anytime manual external defibrillators (semi-automatic) or if the device is fully automatic, the device will shock automatically.

Early Defibrillation is the only effective treatment for SCA. It is important to remember that time is of the essence when treating SCA. The sooner a defibrillator is used, the better the chances are for survival.

Types of Defibrillators

There are two types of defibrillators. Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) and the automated external defibrillator (AED) that we will discuss in this article. The ICD is a battery-powered internal defibrillator device that is surgically implanted under the skin of the chest. It monitors the heart for any abnormal heart rhythms and delivers electrical defibrillation to restore a normal heart rhythm when necessary. The AED, on the other hand, is a portable defibrillator that can be easily carried around. It is used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) by delivering electrical shocks to the heart from electrode pads placed on the outside of the body.

Types of Defibrillators

Both types of defibrillators have their own advantages and disadvantages. In general, ICDs are more expensive and have a higher risk of complications than AEDs. However, they are also more effective in preventing SCA and death from cardiac arrhythmias. AEDs, on the other hand, are less expensive but must be administered to an SCA victim by someone. An implantable cardioverter defibrillator is fully automated and is always monitoring the patient.

What is the importance of voltage in a defibrillator?

Voltage is an important factor in a defibrillator because it determines the amount of electrical energy that is delivered to the heart. The higher the voltage, the greater the amount of energy that is delivered, and this can be critical in resuscitating a patient who is in cardiac arrest. Delivering too little energy may not be enough to restart the heart while delivering too much energy can cause damage to the heart muscle. Modern AEDs are so advanced they will not shock a victim if the suspected SCA victim is suffering from a non-shockable rhythm such as asystole.

How is the voltage of a defibrillator determined?

The voltage of a defibrillator is determined by the electrical strength required to return the heart to its normal rhythm. It is based on the patient’s body size, weight, and type of arrhythmia. Higher voltages may be needed for larger patients or for those with more severe arrhythmias. Modern AEDs measure impedance and automatically deliver the appropriate amount of electricity for the person’s size.

Impedance

Impedance is defined as the property of a circuit that opposes the flow of current. In other words, it’s resistance to current. The heart muscle has a high impedance, while lung tissue has a low impedance. The higher the impedance, the greater the voltage required to pass through it.

Impedance

When an AED is used on someone in cardiac arrest, it will deliver a shock at a certain voltage (usually between 150-360 joules). But how does the AED know how much voltage to deliver?

Some AEDs have a fixed energy output, meaning that they will always deliver the same amount of electricity (usually between 150-200 joules) no matter the person’s size. Other AEDs have a variable energy output, which means that they will adjust the amount of electricity they deliver based on the person’s size.

To determine how much voltage to deliver, the AED uses something called impedance. Impedance is the resistance that a material has to the flow of electric current. The higher the impedance, the greater the voltage required to pass through it. The Heartsine 350P, 360P, and 450P AEDs have SCOPE biphasic waveform technology, a low-energy escalating waveform, that automatically adjusts for differences in patient impedance.

The heart muscle has a high impedance, while lung tissue has a low impedance. So, when an AED is used on someone in cardiac arrest, it will deliver a shock at a certain voltage (usually between 150-360 joules).

This means that anyone can safely use an AED, regardless of their training or experience.

The defibrillator will also have different settings for children and adults. It is important to make sure that the correct setting is used for the patient, as using the wrong setting could cause further harm.

Why is it important to have the right voltage for a defibrillator?

The voltage of the shock is very important – if it is too low, it will not be effective and if it is too high, it can cause serious damage to the heart.

Why is it important to have the right voltage for a defibrillator

The energy of an AED is measured in joules. A joule is a unit of electrical energy. When we express it in a formula, it is generally stated as follows:

Joules (Energy) = Voltage X Current X Time

An external defibrillator requires as much energy to operate for a few seconds as it takes to light a 100-watt bulb. This energy is about 300 joules which is much higher than what the human body is used to. These biphasic defibrillation devices can easily run in regular electrical activity with moderately high voltage. Therefore it has proved helpful in emergency medical services to defibrillate heart muscle.

What happens if the voltage is too low or too high?

If the voltage in an AED is too low or too high, it may not work properly and may not deliver the necessary electrical defibrillation to the heart. This delayed defibrillation could be life-threatening.

If the voltage is too low there is a possibility the SCA victim’s heart will not be restored to a normal rhythm and if the voltage is too great there is a possibility of tissue damage.

An SCA victim usually requires at least 300 joules to be delivered in order to have the best chance for survival, but too much voltage may cause harm to the heart. If an AED is not functioning properly, it is important to seek medical help immediately.

Some modern AEDs are equipped with escalating energy, which means they will start with a lower voltage and increase the voltage if needed. This is to minimize the risk of tissue damage. This is fully automated and requires no adjustments or training with the AED.

Conclusion

A defibrillator voltage is important but that modern AEDs monitor voltage automatically. This means that anyone can safely use an AED, regardless of their training or experience. It is important to make sure that the correct setting is used for the patient. Most AEDs have a set of pads for adults and a separate set of pads for children. If the voltage in an AED is too low or too high, it may not work properly and may not deliver the necessary electrical defibrillation to the heart. Note that the Philips FRx uses the adult pads only and has a pediatric key that can be inserted if using an AED on a pediatric patient. The Physio-Control CR2 and the Zoll 3 AED both have only adult pads only but a button on the AED allows the user to switch to pediatric without having to change out the electrode pads. This time-saving step that is omitted for pediatric treatment can be a lifesaver because every second counts when the body is not getting enough oxygen.

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