Cardiac arrest can occur suddenly and without warning, leading to the cessation of the heart's electrical activity. This can be a life-threatening situation and requires immediate medical attention. Defibrillation is a critical intervention that can save lives. This article will explain how defibrillation works and why it's vital in an emergency.
What Is Defibrillation?
Defibrillation is a medical procedure that delivers an electric shock to the heart, which can restore the heart's normal rhythm. The electric shock is delivered through a device called a defibrillator.
The device sends an electrical current through the chest wall to the heart, which depolarizes the heart muscle and allows it to restart its normal rhythm.
Types of Defibrillators
There are two types of defibrillators: external defibrillators and implantable defibrillators.
External defibrillators are portable devices that deliver an electric shock to the heart through paddles or electrode pads placed on the chest.
These devices are commonly used in hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities. They can also be found in public places such as airports, shopping centres, and sports stadiums.
Implantable defibrillators, also known as internal defibrillators, are small devices surgically implanted under the skin of the chest. They monitor the heart's rhythm and deliver an electric shock if an abnormal rhythm is detected.
These devices are typically used in people at high risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
How Defibrillation Works
Defibrillation works by depolarizing the heart muscle, which stops the abnormal electrical activity and allows the heart to restart its normal rhythm. The electrical shock delivered by the defibrillator is timed to coincide with the heart's electrical cycle. This ensures the shock is delivered at the right time to maximize the chances of restoring the heart's normal rhythm.
Defibrillation can be performed by medical personnel such as paramedics, nurses, and doctors. It can also be performed by trained laypeople who have access to an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
When to Use Defibrillation
Defibrillation is used to treat cardiac arrest, which is a life-threatening emergency. Cardiac arrest can occur suddenly and without warning, and it requires immediate intervention to save the person's life. The earlier defibrillation is performed after cardiac arrest, the greater the chance of survival.
Defibrillation is not used to treat all heart rhythm disturbances. It is only used to treat Ventricular Fibrillation (VF) and pulseless Ventricular Tachycardia (VT). These are two of the most common types of abnormal heart rhythms that can lead to cardiac arrest.
VF is a chaotic rhythm of the heart's lower chambers, which prevents the heart from pumping blood effectively. In contrast, VT is a rapid, regular rhythm of the heart's lower chambers, which can also prevent the heart from pumping blood effectively.
Benefits of Defibrillation
Defibrillation is a critical intervention that can save lives. It is the most effective treatment for VF and VT, which are two of the most common causes of sudden cardiac arrest. Defibrillation can restore the heart's normal rhythm and prevent death.
The benefits of defibrillation are greatest when it is performed early after cardiac arrest. The chances of survival decrease rapidly with each passing minute after cardiac arrest.
Defibrillation is a critical intervention that can save lives in an emergency. It works by depolarizing the heart muscle and restoring the heart's normal rhythm.
Defibrillation can be performed by medical personnel or trained laypeople who have access to an AED. The benefits of defibrillation are greatest when it is performed early after cardiac arrest. It is the most effective treatment for VF and VT, two of the most common causes of sudden cardiac arrest.
Ensure your workplace is equipped with life-saving defibrillator supplies from Restart the Heart. These are designed to provide reliable and effective assistance in the event of cardiac arrest. Browse our range of defibrillator accessories and consumables, including electrode pads, batteries, and carry cases, to ensure your defibrillator is always ready to use.