A study revealed that those who have a cardiac arrest at a GP office are less likely to live than those who paramedics treat in a non-clinical environment - but if a defibrillator is available, their chances of survival are doubled.
The research, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, advocates for the installation of defibrillators in all GP clinics.
A cardiac arrest is a life-threatening condition where the heart stops beating and pumping blood around the body. If it isn't treated quickly enough, it can result in permanent brain damage or death.
What is a Defibrillator?
A defibrillator is a device used to restore a normal heart rhythm to a person who is not breathing or breathing in an irregular way.
The defibrillator delivers an electric shock that can be used to restore a regular heartbeat.
The defibrillator is only used when a person is unconscious, not breathing normally or breathing in an irregular pattern.
A defibrillator is not used in conjunction with CPR for normal heart problems.
What are the Different Types of Defibrillators? (AEDs, ICDs, and WCD)
There are three different types of defibrillators:
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)
AEDs are portable electronic units that analyse the heart's rhythm and determine whether a shock is required. They are the simplest version of a defibrillator and are used to shock a heart that has stopped and not breathing. Automated External Defibrillators are designed to be used by lay people to try and save a life, even if they have no medical training.
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs)
ICDs are exactly like AEDs, but instead of a battery and electrical power source, the power is derived from electricity conducted through the skin from a source outside of the body.
These are implanted into the chest wall and are used to monitor the heart continuously. If a person's heart goes into an abnormal rhythm, it can be treated with a shock delivered by the ICD.
When to Use a Defibrillator
When CPR is required, a defibrillator can be used. If a person is unresponsive and not breathing regularly, CPR is required.
Remember, time is of the essence. If a person is unresponsive and not breathing, dial triple zero (000), do CPR, and use a defibrillator as soon as feasible.
Where are Defibrillators Located?
The important thing is to have defibrillators in places where people can access them immediately.
To do this, all places that have identified a need for a defibrillator should contact their local ambulance service (if they are a private or public organisation) or the local council, and they will be able to provide information on where defibrillators are available.
Defibrillators are placed in large sports centres, sporting grounds, public transport hubs such as train stations and bus depots, and are being installed in more and more community centres, school halls and local offices.
Ultimately, the most important factor in whether a person lives or dies of a cardiac arrest is the speed of the responder. If a defibrillator is within reach, it can be brought into action immediately, giving a patient the best hope of survival.
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