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The defibrillator machine is a device that restores a normal heart rhythm by sending an electrical impulse or shock to the heart. It aims to prevent or correct arrhythmias whenever the heart rate is uneven, too fast, or too slow. Defibrillator can even restore the heart rate if the heart suddenly stops pumping.
Defibrillation is a crucial step in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). CPR is an algorithm-based intervention that aims at restoring heart and lung function. Only certain types of cardiac dysrhythmia indicate Defibrillation, particularly ventricular fibrillation (VF) and pulseless ventricular tachycardia. The defibrillator is the newer and more compliant artery. It is like an occasional or dynamic electrolysis bolus (AEP). Defibrillator has an electrocardiogram (ECG) lead with adhesive patches (or paddles). The adhesive electrodes are the patches placed on the patient's chest to deliver the electric shock.
Types of Defibrillators
Different types of defibrillator serve different uses. Automated Outdoor Defibrillators (AED) are developed in many public places to save people's lives facing sudden cardiac arrest. Even untrained people can use these devices in case of any emergency.
Other defibrillators can prevent the sudden death of people at high risk due to malignant arrhythmia. This includes an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). These are surgically placed inside the patient's body. Then there is a portable cardioverter defibrillator (PCD). Patients must wear these over the body. Let us discuss different types of defibrillator with their uses in detail:
1. Manual External Defibrillator
It requires a trained and experienced person to handle this defibrillator effectively. Hence, they are primarily found in hospitals and in those ambulances where capable hands are present. In conjunction with an ECG, the trained person determines the cardiac rhythm, and then they manually determine the voltage and timing of the shock. They use external paddles on the patient's chest for this.
2. Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator
Another name for this type is Automatic Internal Cardiac Defibrillator (AICD). This defibrillator constantly monitors the patient's heart, like a pacemaker. It can even detect:
- Ventricular tachycardia
- Ventricular fibrillation
- Atrial fibrillation
- Supraventricular tachycardia
Whenever it detects an abnormal rhythm, the device automatically determines the shock voltage required to restore cardiac function.
3. Manual Internal Defibrillator
The manual internal defibrillator, invented after 1959, uses internal paddles to send the electric shock directly to the heart. These are useful in opening patient’s clogged chests, so this type of defibrillator is standard in the operating room.
4. Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
This defibrillator uses computer technology, making it easy to analyze the heart rhythm and effectively determine if the rhythm is shockable or not. One can find this type of defibrillator in medical facilities, airports, government offices, hotels, sports stadiums, and schools.
It requires more experience and training to operate this defibrillator effectively. Therefore, they are common only in hospitals and in some ambulances with trained hands. With the ECG, the trained provider determines the heart rate, then AED determines the pressure and timing of the shock to the patient's chest via external paddles.
5. Advanced Life Support (ALS) Units
These are one of the most essential components in healthcare. For example, in ambulances and hospitals. These devices enable the medical team to monitor a person's heart rate. If any severe requirement arises, then this equipment can provide an electric shock too. Most ALS units are AED equipped. This mode uses the computer to suggest shock recommendations based on the individual's condition.
Other common characteristics of this device include monitoring oxygen, carbon dioxide, temperature, and blood pressure. Some units also have a heart attack warning system within. While some models apply paddles, electrodes are generally preferable because they are much safer for the rescuer. Additionally, the more evenly distributed the shock is, the more effective it will prove to be on the patient.
6. Wearable Cardioverter Defibrillator
The Wearable cardioverter-defibrillator (WCD) is a medical device used on people at risk of heart failure. For example, it is often helpful to those people who have had a recent heart attack or bypass surgery. People suffering from circulatory disorders can also get help from this device.
Non-invasive WCDs consist of two different components: monitor and shirt. These components detect and treat abnormal heart rhythms. It is mandatory for a person to have clothes on while the doctor moves the monitor around the waist. This type can withstand a lot of adverse conditions. It delivers an electric shock every time it detects a malignant rhythm. It is highly effective with 98% of the first shock success rate.
Seeking an expert's guidance before using any defibrillator machine is a must. Every defibrillator has thousands of benefits and few limitations, so one should not use them without having a proper knowledge about them. The above types show the versatility of defibrillators when it comes to saving a cardiac patient's life from heart failure in general.
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Published on August 31, 2021
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