Do you want to know what a defibrillator is? Well, you are lucky because this article on “what is a defibrillator” will do justice to that.
Also, I will explain this in different sections. Each section will explain extensively what a defibrillator is.
In the first section of this article, I will explain a defibrillator and its common use using an overview as the heading.
More so, the next section will explain how a defibrillator works. This should give you the detailed use of a defibrillator.
Furthermore, in the following section, you will learn the basic factors to consider when choosing a defibrillator.
As we advance, I will discuss the pros and cons of defibrillators.
In addition, I will list out commonly asked questions on a defibrillator and dish out suitable answers for them.
Therefore, to enjoy this exciting ride with me, please read through it till the end of this article.
Having said all that, let’s get down to business.
What Is A Defibrillator: Overview
First, most people confuse defibrillator with defibulation. Defibulation is a process whereby surgical procedures are carried out to reverse infibulation.
While infibulation means a vertical incision on a scar to create a new labia major. However, the focus of this article is on the defibrillator.
A defibrillator is simply an instrument to correct or restore the heartbeat by sending electric pulses to the heart.
It is used to correct or prevent an irregular heartbeat which might be too slow or too fast and also makes the heart beat again if it suddenly stops.
It is important to note that a heart in asystole cannot be restarted by a defibrillator but can be treated with CPR.
A heart in a flatline is the most dangerous form of cardiac arrest and is permanent. Hence, it refers to asystole.
Asystole is the state of total cessation of electrical activity from the heart.
This means no tissue contraction from the heart muscle and, thus, no blood flow to the rest of the body.
Using a defibrillator is often an important step in cardiopulmonary resuscitation(CPR).
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation(CPR) Explained
Nevertheless, CPR is important; you should use it when a person stops breathing, and their heart stops beating.
Also, CPR keeps oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and heart. Pending the introduction of a defibrillator or an emergency team arriving to get the heart to beat normally.
When started immediately following the cardiac arrest, CPR can either double or triple the victim’s chance of survival.
Types Of Defibrillator
A person must consider what type of defibrillator he/she needs, This has to be in accordance to his/her situation and which one seems more convenient and comfortable.
Hence, there are three types of defibrillators to choose from.
Automated External Defibrillators
The AED is a device that recognizes arrhythmia and conveys an electric shock at the appropriate time.
Thus, you can now find these AEDs in many public spaces where you can use them to save people experiencing cardiac arrest.
Even unspecialized people can use these devices in an emergency. The AED is safe and will not allow you to make a mistake.
How AED Are Used
Retrieve The AED
The first thing to do here is open the case and turn on the AED.
Expose The Person’s Chest.
Ensure the person’s chest is not wet. Hence, if wet, dry the chest. This is because electricity and water can be very dangerous.
However, defibrillation is possible if the patient is in the snow. The next thing to do here is to remove medication patches.
Open The AED Pads
The next thing you can do here is peeling off the backing of the AED pads. After that, you are to check for a pacemaker or internal defibrillator.
If you notice that the person has a bulge over their chest, it means that the person has an implanted device such as a pacemaker.
Place the pads close to a much closer position to the pacemaker but not directly over it.
Apply The Pads
Once you finish the previous steps, apply one pad to the upper right chest above the breast.
After that, apply the second pad on the lower left chest below the armpit.
Ensure The Attachment Of The Wires To The AED Box
Here you are to ensure that the wires connect to the AED box properly.
Move Away From The Person
Once you finish connecting the wires to the box, the next thing is to stop CPR.
After this, you will clear the person by telling others not to touch the person.
Let AED Analyze The Rhythm.
While standing clear, allow the AED to analyze the rhythm of the person’s heart.
Then, the AED can read and check “electrodes” or “shock.”
If The AED Message Reads “Check Electrodes,” Then:
You are to ensure that the electrodes make good contact with the skin.
For example, if the person’s chest is hairy, remove the pad and change it.
If The AED Message Reads “Shock,”
The first thing to do here is to ensure that the person is “clear” by ensuring no one is touching them.
Then press and hold the “shock” button until the AED delivers the shock.
Resume CPR For Two Minutes, Starting With Chest Compressions
Once it delivers the shock, you must resume the CPR process for 2 minutes by starting with chest compressions.
Repeat The Steps Again
After that, continue these steps all over again.
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator(ICD)
An ICD is a battery-powered device placed under the skin that keeps track of your heart rate. Thin wires connect the ICD to your heart.
If the device detects an abnormal rhythm, it will deliver an electric shock to restore a normal heartbeat. Of course, this is possible only if your heart is beating abnormally and much too fast.
The ICD is the only subcutaneous implantable defibrillator that protects against sudden cardiac death and the risks and complications associated with transvenous leads.
ICDs are very important in avoiding untimely death in human beings with known sustained arrhythmia.
Research has shown that ICDs have a role in avoiding cardiac arrest in high-risk patients who are yet to have a cardiac arrest or life-threatening arrhythmia.
Future ICDs may have a double function, including the ability to act as a pacemaker. The pacemaker feature will restore the patient’s heartbeat if there is a confirmation that the heart rate is too slow.
How ICD Works
If your ICD device possesses a pacemaker feature, it sends a tiny electric alert to your heart when your heartbeat is too slow. If your heartbeat is too fast, it gives defibrillation shocks to stop the abnormal heartbeat.
It works all day long.
Wearable Cardioverter Defibrillator(WCD)
The wearable cardioverter-defibrillator (WCD) is a rechargeable external device that is wearable under clothing all day long.
It protects the wearer from potentially life-threatening ventricular tachyarrhythmias or cardiac arrest.
After detecting a dangerous arrhythmia, the WCD can deliver high-energy shocks. The WCD is very effective in accurately detecting and appropriately treating ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation.
It is temporarily useable as a bridge to an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), heart transplantation, or left ventricular assist device.
Thus, patients with heart failure with a reduced ejection fraction may benefit from the WCD while their condition improves.
It is usable temporarily after the explant of an ICD until reimplantation is not possible.
For patients with heart attacks, a WCD may be useful instantly after the death of tissues.
It is specified for use when a permanently embedded ICD must be explanted because of infection.
Hence, the patient can use the WCD until the infection settles and a new ICD is implanted.
The job of the WCD is to appear as an important healing option to protect patients at high risk of unexpected cardiac death (SCD).
How Does A Defibrillator Works
Most people believe or seem to think that using a defibrillator is a painful experience, but the reverse is the case.
This is probably because, in movies, you will see the medical personnel that shouts “clear” and then shocks the patient.
However, those frightening machines of the past have developed. Thankfully, these machines now come as lightweight, portable medical devices.
Hence, you can refer to these machines as automated external defibrillators (AEDs). These devices are now accessible to the public and easy for almost anybody to operate. As a result, they save many lives today.
Still, many people have never heard of an AED and do not know what they are, what they do, or when to use them. For those who do not know about these lifesaving devices, it is time to learn.
The more you know about AEDs and how they work, the more you want to step in to rescue somebody. This is especially for those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
Working Principle Of A Defibrillator
The plates send data about the person’s heartbeat rhythm to the device. The device examines the heartbeat to determine whether an electric shock is needed.
If it’s needed, the plates send the required amount of shock.
How To Use A Defibrillator
To use a defibrillator, follow these simple steps:
Turn it on by pressing the green button, then follow its directions.
Peel off the sticky part of the pads and couple them to the patient, one on each side of the chest, as shown on the defibrillator.
After the coupling of the pad, stop CPR and don’t touch the patient. The device will then check the patient’s heartbeat.
The defibrillator will conclude if a shock is compulsory and if so, it will alert you to press the shock button.
An automatic defibrillator will shock the patient without you manually pressing the shock button. Don’t touch the patient while being shocked.
The defibrillator will alert you when the shock delivers and whether you need to continue with the CPR procedures.
Continue with the CPR until the patient shows signs of consciousness or the defibrillator alerts you to stop so it can examine the heartbeat again.
Nevertheless, anyone can use a defibrillator without training. Once you turn it on, it gives clear instructions for attaching the defibrillator pads.
Hence, the device checks the heart rhythm and will only tell you to shock if it’s compulsory. Therefore, you can’t shock someone accidentally.
What Is A Defibrillator: Factors To Consider
Here, I will explain some factors to consider when buying a defibrillator.
Ease Of Use
When buying a defibrillator, it is recommendable that you buy one that is easy for you to use without any stress. In addition, it helps to make the process of defibrillation faster.
You won’t have any issues with a defibrillator that is easy to use. Its ease might come in different forms for everyone; some prefer those with big OFF and ON buttons, while some don’t.
Some also prefer the size of the defibrillator to be big, while some prefer it to be small.
Thus, you should choose anyone according to your comfort so you can work comfortably and better.
Another factor to consider when buying a defibrillator is the materials it consumes and its worth.
Often, people tend to go for cheaper products. However, some of the cheaper products are not easy to maintain in terms of cost.
Looking at defibrillators, for instance, the cheap ones cost more money for pads and batteries over the long term.
When looking for a defibrillator, price is a very important and key factor. Their prices are not stable and are varied. Hence, their price is never constant.
It is best to look at how much it will cost in total, meaning both the defibrillator and the components(pads and batteries), Rather than looking for the cheapest.
An important factor is how many languages the defibrillator can give instructions.
A cardiac arrest, as we know, can happen anywhere and anytime; it is up to the passersby to administer first aid using a defibrillator.
This makes administering first aid difficult when the passerby does not understand the language of the instructions given to him/her.
What Is A Defibrillator: Pros And Cons
As we all know, everything has its advantages and disadvantages, and so does the defibrillator. Let’s start with the advantages
- Reduces the risk of dying from cardiac arrest.
- It helps to correct the heartbeat of a person.
- It helps the person deal with cardiac arrest.
- It’s an important instrument used in CPR.
- It is user-friendly.
- Now we move on to the disadvantages of a defibrillator.
- There can be an infection at the implant site.
- It can also lead to swelling, bleeding, or bruising.
- Also, it can damage the blood vessels from ICD leads.
- Furthermore, it can lead to bleeding around the heart, which can be life-threatening.
- Blood can leak through the heart valve where the ICD lead is positioned.
- This can lead to pneumothorax for the patient.
- Shifting the device can lead to cardiac perforation.
What Is A Defibrillator: Recommendations And Specifications
|Products||Dimension||Weight||Manufacturer||Number Of AED|
|CPR Adult Manikin Diversity Kit 4-Pack||28.75 x 14.75 x 25.75 inches||32.65 Pounds||MCR Medical||4 Pairs|
|WNL Products WL220ES05-4 (4-Pack) AED Kit||15.3 x 14 x 10.7 inches||8.8 Pounds||WNL Products||4 Pairs|
|Prestan AED UltraTrainer– 4-Pack||12.5 x 8.75 x 7 inches||7.40 pounds||Prestan||4 Pairs|
|WNL Products WL120ES10, 4 AED Defibrillators||20.3 x 15.5 x 9.6 inches||7.6 Pounds||WNL Safety Products||4 Pairs|
|WNL Products WL120ES10-4 Pack AED Defibrillator||10.2 x 3.2 x 7.5 inches||4.3 Pounds||WNL Safety Products||4 Pairs|
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should A Defibrillator Be Used On Someone Awake?
You can only use it when the person is unconscious and having trouble breathing.
2. What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Person Using A Defibrillator?
3. How Serious Is Getting A Defibrillator?
There is also the possibility of pneumothorax, which occurs when the air becomes trapped in the pleural space, causing the lung to collapse.
4. How Painful Is A Defibrillator?
5. Can A Defibrillator Cause Stroke?
This occurs when the heart beats too fast to pump blood to the rest of the body.
This can cause the heart to stop, which can cause a stroke suddenly.
6. Can You Drive If You Have A Defibrillator?
7. What Heart Conditions Require A Defibrillator?
Also, you will need a defibrillator if you are at high risk of such a heart rhythm problem (arrhythmia), typically due to a weak heart muscle; you may require an ICD.
8. What Are The Side Effects Of Having A Defibrillator?
Only defibrillation will help the heart return to normal, so they are extremely safe when used correctly.
There are no common side effects of a defibrillator shock to be concerned about.
9. How Do You Sleep With A Defibrillator
Sleep on the opposite side if you have an implanted defibrillator. Because most defibrillators are implanted on the left side, sleeping on the right side may be more comfortable.
10. How Long Does A Defibrillation Surgery Take?
Within four to six weeks, you should be completely recovered. Under general anesthesia, a doctor can also surgically implant an ICD.
What Is A Defibrillator: My Final Thoughts
If you are looking for a device that can help save a “Heart Arrhythmia” patient’s life, look no more because a defibrillator can do that with ease.
The defibrillator has evolved from being an object that could not be carried around to a very light and carryable object, which is now easy to use.
Almost everybody can now use it, unlike the old versions that needed the user to be technically skilled.
It has become a very popular medical instrument used in hospitals, offices, organizations, and even at home.
It is safe to say that if you want a very reliable instrument that can help a “heart arrhythmia” patient, then a defibrillator is the best option for you to use
In this article, I have given you every basic and important thing you need to know about a defibrillator, its use, and so much more.
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