What You Need to Know about Defibrillators

A defibrillator is a device used to deliver a dose of electrical energy to the heart to restore the heart's normal rhythm. Defibrillators can be found in many public places, airports, stadiums, and private homes.

If you want to know more about defibrillators and how these devices can be used to save lives, read on as we share more information:

What Is a Defibrillator?

It is a device that gives a high-energy shock to the heart. This shock can stop the heart from beating in a life-threatening rhythm called ventricular fibrillation. A defibrillator can also be used to bring back a normal heart rhythm in other conditions, such as ventricular tachycardia.

When Is a Defibrillator Used?

Defibrillators are used in emergencies when someone has a sudden cardiac arrest. It occurs when the heart stops pumping blood to the other parts of the body. Oxygen can't reach the brain and other vital organs when this happens. This can lead to brain damage and death.

If someone goes into cardiac arrest, it is important to act quickly—every minute that passes without treatment, the chances of survival decrease by 10%. A defibrillator is the only device that can restore a normal heart rhythm.

What Are the Two Types of Defibrillators?

There are two types of defibrillators:

  • Automated External Defibrillator
  • Manual External Defibrillator

An automated external defibrillator or AED is a portable device used to check the heart rhythm and can send a much-needed electric shock to the heart to restore a normal rhythm. A manual external defibrillator (MED) is a handheld device used to deliver a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the patient's heart in cardiac arrest.

The two types of defibrillators differ in their mode of operation. AEDs are designed for the use of laypersons with little or no medical training, while MEDs require trained medical personnel to operate.

AEDs are typically found in public places, such as airports and office buildings, while MEDs are found in hospitals and other medical facilities.

Both AEDs and MEDs can be used to treat ventricular fibrillation (VF), a life-threatening condition in which the heart's electrical activity becomes chaotic. VF is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death.

AEDs are used to deliver a single shock to the heart, while MEDs are used to deliver multiple shocks in succession. The number of shocks required to restore a normal heart rhythm depends on the individual patient.

AEDs are powered by batteries, while MEDs are powered by mains electricity. AEDs are small and portable, while MEDs are larger and heavier.

AEDs are designed to be used by anyone, while MEDs require trained medical personnel to operate.

How to Use an Automated External Defibrillator

If an AED is needed, the EMS personnel will instruct you how to use it. It's important to follow their instructions carefully.

Using an AED is generally a four-step process:

  1. Turn on the AED and follow the prompts.
  1. Place the AED pads on the person's bare chest. The placement will depend on the specific AED model, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
  1. Stand clear of the person and press the "shock" button.
  1. Continue to follow the AED's prompts until EMS arrives.


In cardiac arrest, defibrillation is the only effective treatment. When the heart stops beating, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. Within minutes, brain damage and death can occur. Defibrillators work by delivering a shock to the heart that stops the abnormal heart rhythm and allows the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm.

It's important to remember that AEDs are designed to be used by laypeople with little or no medical training. If you're not comfortable using an AED, don't hesitate to ask for help from someone who is.

Using an AED can be scary, but it's important to remember that you're potentially saving someone's life. And with proper training and practice, anyone can learn how to use an AED. So if you're thinking about getting AED and defib supplies, go ahead and start familiarizing yourself with how the device works.

Restart the Heart is the leading supplier of defib supplies in Australia. From defibrillators to pads, batteries, and more, we have it all. Get your defibrillator supplies from Restart the Heart today!