Defibrillator – Defibulator
Defibrillator – Defibulator
Everyone seem to have their own spelling – regardless, this little unit is a handy piece of equipment to have.
A defibrillator, is a small unit capable of restarting a “dead” heart.
“What!”, you say, “People will be able to live forever?”
Be prepared for the unexpected.
When sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) strikes, the electrical system of the heart short circuits, causing the heart to quiver rather than pump in a normal rhythm. It typically results in the abnormal heart rhythm know as ventricular fibrillation (VF). It usually happens without warning and the majority of people have no previously recognized symptoms of heart disease. And it most often happens at home. For the best chance of survival from SCA caused by VF, a defibrillator should be used within 5 minutes.
Maybe that wasn’t worded in the best possible terms. If someone collapses. . . here I’ll let you read all about it.
A heart defibrillator will help restore the natural rhythm of the heart when a person is experiencing dangerous arrhythmia or cardiac arrest. The heart has a natural defibrillator built in that acts much the way a pacemaker does, but as we age it can stop functioning properly. (The typical resting heart rate in adults is 60–80 beats per minute)
Before determining if the patient’s heart has stopped beating, it is necessary to know in which areas of the body a pulse can be detected:
Possible points for finding a heart beat are:
- The ventral aspect of the wrist on the side of the thumb (radial artery).
- The ulnar artery.
- The neck (carotid artery).
- The inside of the elbow, or under the biceps muscle (brachial artery).
- The groin (femoral artery).
- Behind the medial malleolus on the feet (posterior tibial artery).
- Middle of dorsum of the foot (dorsalis pedis).
- Behind the knee (popliteal artery).
- Over the abdomen (abdominal aorta).
- The chest (apex of the heart), which can be felt with one’s hand or fingers. It is also possible to auscultate the heart using a stethoscope.
- The temple (superficial temporal artery).
- The lateral edge of the mandible (facial artery).
- The side of the head near the ear (posterior auricular artery).
Once it has been determined that there is no pulse then an AED may be used:
An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) serves the same purpose as an internal defibrillator, but it is not implanted. They can only be used when a patient is suffering from cardiac arrest or severe heart fibrillation because the electrical shock they produce could disrupt the rhythm of a beating heart. An external was once only found in hospitals and ambulances, but in recent years the reduced size and cost of these units has brought them into common use. External heart defibrillators have saved countless lives that would have been lost had it not been for the portability and affordability of this new breed of external defibrillator.
When used correctly, the heart defibrillator sends out an electrical shock roughly 60-100 times per minute. As the shock passes through the sections of the heart, the muscles contract and generally restart the heart beat. When the heart’s natural pacemaker stops functioning properly the heart loses its rhythm and in some cases leads to cardiac arrest. For those people who suffer from severe fibrillation, an internal pacemaker maybe implanted in order to maintain the proper rhythm. Meanwhile, a loss of rhythm can be reactivated with one of these units
When a person is in cardiac arrest, time is of the essence. Mere minutes can be the difference between full recovery, permanent damage or death. For this reason, a portable defibrillator (also called an external heart defibrillator) is a key piece of equipment in any emergency response kit. Most if not all ambulances, and police cars and fire departments carry one of these external units . Because it can take several minutes for an emergency responder to get on the scene and treat somebody in cardiac arrest many communities are setting up public access defibrillator centers, or PAD’s. These consist of external defibrillators as well as other first aid equipment allowing for treatment to heart attack victims in the crucial minutes before emergency medical services can arrive. The American Heart Association recommends that all places which house large numbers of people have external heart defibrillators on hand.
Many public places now purchase these units and can generally be found in schools, sport arenas, theaters, and shopping malls. Anyone who lives for any extended period in an isolated area could well benefit from having one of these units. For cottagers a community purchase of a defibrillator could well be in the common interest.
This information is not to be used as medical advice, and has not been written by a doctor. Always consult your doctor before making any medical decisions or undertaking any treatment.