First Aid 101: Understanding Manual Defibrillators

Maintaining a healthy heart is one of the best ways to live a long and healthy life. It means practising better habits and reducing stress. Unfortunately, many people suffer from severe heart diseases daily due to several factors and poor practices. For this reason, you must know the most effective response to those suffering from emergencies like sudden cardiac arrest.

Whether you’re a first aider or just a concerned individual, it’s crucial to understand how this device works and what are the two types. 

This article will guide you to understand manual defibrillators to help you save lives from preventable medical emergencies. 

What Is a Manual Defibrillator?

Manual defibrillators are medical devices that send an electric shock through a person’s body to help restart their heart when they suffer from sudden cardiac arrest. Unlike its automated external counterpart, it requires someone to operate it manually. 

It has two paddles that the other person can place on the victim’s chest, and they can connect them to a machine that sends an electric shock to the heart. That way, the organ can regain its natural rhythm and allow it to beat again.  

How Does It Work? 

When you use this device within three to ten minutes of cardiac arrest, you can administer electrical shocks that can help restore the heart’s normal rhythm and function. Using defibrillators is most effective when the heart is in ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia. 

However, you must remember that you can’t use this device to treat asystole or pulseless electrical activity.

When to Use a Manual Defibrillator

You should only let trained professionals in advanced cardiac life support this medical device. They should be knowledgeable about the heart’s rhythm and be able to correctly and quickly interpret electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) data to deliver the correct electrical shock.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel can use this device to help treat a person suffering from a cardiac arrest when transferring them to an ambulance or hospital. Manual defibrillators are especially useful for treating babies under a year old who have undergone cardiac arrest.

Manual vs. Automatic Defibrillators: What’s the Difference?

Many manual defibrillators come in three modes: synchronised cardioversion and internal and external defibrillation. Using the manual device requires the operator to have in-depth knowledge of advanced cardiac life support because it doesn’t have the same safety features as its automated counterpart. Unlike an AED that alerts the user if they shouldn’t deliver the shock, the operator must set the energy level (joules) when using a manual machine. 

What Else Can Manual Defibrillators Do?

These devices give the user more control and customisation than their automated counterparts. The user can also link manual defibrillators to other medical instruments. These connections let the operator measure oxygen saturation in the blood, the amount of exhaled carbon dioxide, and a patient’s blood pressure. 

After discussing this critical device, how it works, and when to use it, this section will enumerate two more ways a manual defibrillator can be helpful. 

1. Cardioversion 

It's a medical procedure that uses a small electric shock to the heart and restores a healthy rhythm in individuals suffering from abnormal heartbeats like tachycardia or arrhythmias. The user will send the waves through electrodes placed on the patient's chest, providing a fast solution to the heart rhythm issue.

2. Non-invasive Transcutaneous Pacing (NTP)

Pacing means delivering electrical pulses to the heart to maintain a regular heartbeat. Medical providers use the non-invasive method when the patient is at risk of rapid deterioration, such as when installing a pacemaker, having a heart attack, or waiting for surgery. 

Final Thoughts 

Sudden cardiac arrests can be a scary experience for anyone. Fortunately, emergency medical services professionals use equipment like manual defibrillators to restore a normal heartbeat until the patient receives proper care. 

Restart the Heart is Australia's trusted supplier of defibrillators with our fast delivery and excellent customer care. We also provide AED pads and batteries for all brands. Order now to save a life!