Does a Defibrillator
Restart Your Heart?
Here at First Aid Accident & Emergency, we make it our mission to provide education surrounding defibrillators, including what they’re used for and how they work. We aim to raise awareness and help you understand how important defibrillators are so you will hopefully consider investing in one of these life-saving devices.
Read below as we explain one of the most frequently asked questions we receive concerning defibs—does a defibrillator restart your heart?
What are defibrillators used for?
Firstly, it’s important to understand why we use defibrillators and how they work. Defibs are used to detect any unnatural heart rhythms present within a patient’s heart when they suffer from a sudden cardiac arrest. One common example of an irregular or unnatural rhythm is the heart arrhythmia called Ventricular Fibrillation. When the heart is in Ventricular Fibrillation, its rhythm will become extremely chaotic to the point where it is quivering rather than beating as it should.
If an AED detects that Ventricular Fibrillation or another form or irregular rhythm is present, it will send a shock to the patient to return the heart to its natural rhythm. The defib will only send this shock if required—there won’t be an instance where a patient is unnecessarily shocked.
Will a defibrillator restart a stopped heart?
To put it simply, an AED will not restart a heart once it has completely stopped because that’s not what it’s designed to do. As discussed above, the purpose of a defib is to detect irregular heart rhythms and shock them back to normal rhythms, not to shock a heart back to life once it has flatlined.
The understanding that defibrillators are used to revive a stopped heart is one of the most common misconceptions out there—this probably has a lot to do with films and television programs that incorrectly show patients being zapped back to life. Learn more about some of the most common defibrillator myths in our blog post.
Should you purchase a defibrillator?
Due to the unpredictability of sudden cardiac arrest, we strongly urge anyone considering investing in a defibrillator to do so. CPR is an essential skill to have and it will be extremely beneficial when it comes to resuscitation—but unfortunately, CPR sometimes isn’t enough. Survival rates drastically increase when a defib is used to assist someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest compared to when only CPR is available.
If you would like to learn more about defibrillators, be sure to get in touch with the specialists at First Aid Accident & Emergency today. Browse our range of defibrillator bundles on our online shop or brush up on your CPR skills by booking in for one of our first aid and CPR courses via the online booking system.
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