What Is a Defibrillator?

The most important organ that the human body completely depends on is the “untiringly working” heart. If this muscle stops functioning, the blood flow in the body comes to a stop and if the brain loses oxygen supply, a person can die within minutes. People suffering from a cardiac arrest, i.e. when the rhythm of the heart becomes abnormal or the heart stops, require immediate medical treatment. Today, cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death across the world.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, also commonly known as CPR, can be used to keep the oxygen flowing to the brain. However, in case arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) occurs, defibrillation using electric shock is required to get the heart started again. The heart should be defibrillated very quickly as the patient’s survival rate drops by 7-10% for each minute that the heart is not restored.


Understanding What a Defibrillator Is

Defibrillation essentially stops the fibrillation or the trembling of the heart muscles during a heart attack. Typically, a defibrillator uses a voltage of around 200-1000 volts or 300 joules of electric current that are passed through the patient’s heart so that it is “shocked” into the normal working mode.

Usually, the defibrillator that is commonly used in television shows or movies comprises a unit that supplies electricity and two electrodes made of metal called paddles. Using the insulated plastic handles, the paddles are usually very firmly pressed to the patient’s chest. The most important thing is to get the electric current to flow through the patient’s heart to get it working.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

Many times, a person may suffer a cardiac arrest in a public place or there may not be any trained medical help around. In such cases, AEDs become extremely useful. AEDs are portable, lightweight, battery-operated devices that are very simple to operate.

AEDs can be operated by people who are not trained to handle medical emergencies or by people having minimal medical knowledge. The AED unit comes along with instructions and the equipment also has the facility to give voice prompts of when you should send electric shocks to the heart.

AEDs are equipped with sticky electrode pads that are self-adhesive and can be used in place of paddles. These are simpler and safer too. The automatic defibrillators are equipped with sensors that recognise the heart’s condition and also control how much electric shock must be delivered to get the heart working. Once the pads are fixed on the patient, the operator can stand away from the equipment and this reduces the risk of getting a shock.

AEDs are commonly found in places that have a large footfall of people like shopping malls, airports, airplanes, hotels, businesses, venues for sports, schools, etc. AEDs can also be kept at home for use in the case of any emergency.

Heart attacks can happen anytime and anyplace and it is important to be equipped to handle these kinds of emergencies. Medical help may not be on hand at all times, in which case, AEDs become very handy to administer medical help to a person suffering from an unforeseen heart attack. Although handling the AED equipment is quite simple, it is recommended that a person is trained and has a basic know-how to handle the AED equipment and the medical situation.

Bull Products supply a range of defibrillators from Life Point Pro and Zoll, including AED’s and Training Defibs. Be sure to get in touch if you have any questions regarding these products.


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