Since 1899, defibrillators have evolved to become quite useful machines when the life of an individual is at stake. A defibrillator is used to revive the heart and stops arrhythmia, which is an abnormal rate of the heart’s muscle contractions. Defibrillators ideally depolarize the critical mass of the heart’s muscles and returns the heart to a normal pace. These devices work by administering electric shocks to the heart, either externally or internally and some even diagnose the heart rhythm. The latter types are usually used for heart attacks and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Well, there are different kinds of defibrillators. Some are designed for professionals while others are made for people with little or no medical knowledge. An example is the manual external defibrillator, common in hospitals and ambulances and it’s only used by experts in the medical domain. They are often used with electrocardiogram readers, which are used to diagnose the cardiac condition of the patient. The semi-auto defibrillator and the implantable cardioverter-defibrillators are also used by the paramedics and emergency medical technicians. However, there is another type of defibrillator, known as the Automatic Defibrillator or the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and this article talks more about it.
The automatic defibrillator is mainly used for emergencies where there’s no likelihood of a nearby individual who has the extensive medical know-how. These devices are common in public areas with high-risk individuals. For instance, a community center for the youth can be considered as low-risk as the people are young and fit and do not have a higher risk of heart attacks. However, a senior citizens care home is deemed to be high risk as people there are older and have a higher risk for heart-related problems. Automatic defibrillators are usually brightly colored, and they are mounted in protective areas near an entrance.
Automated external defibrillators are for public use, and can treat two types of arrhythmias: pulseless ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. Ventricular fibrillation is a condition where a chaotic electrical activity stops the victim’s heart from pumping blood efficiently. Ventricular tachycardia, on the other hand, is a condition where the patient’s heart is pumping the blood too fast for it to circulate properly.
AED use is taught in various courses such as first responder, first aid, and basic life support CPR classes. Without this device, most of the cardiac arrests might lead to brain damage or even death. This is because during blood stops flowing to the brain once someone experiences cardiac arrest. Irreversible brain damage starts to occur after 4 to 5 minutes and every minute the patient is in cardiac arrest, the chances of surviving reduce by 10%.
Also, automated defibrillator kit contains a face shield for breathing purposes, trauma shears for removing clothes, a razor for people with hairy chests, a towel and nitrile rubber gloves.
There is no denying the fact that AEDs are life-saving gadgets. They are particularly easy to use for people with little or no medical knowledge. Since they were first created, they have saved millions of lives and will continue to save more.