Most Common Defibrillator Myths Debunked
Here at First Aid Accident & Emergency, we’ve heard just about every myth and misconception there is when it comes to defibrillators. We’ve decided to set the record straight for some of the defibrillator myths we come across.
The team at FAAE are experts in defibrillators and defibrillator packs—read below as we reveal the truth behind some of the most common defibrillator misconceptions.
1. A defibrillator is used to restart a stopped heart: Myth
One big misconception surrounding defibrillators is that their main purpose is to restart a heart once it has completely stopped. This is incorrect. The purpose of the defibrillator is to firstly detect any unusual or erratic heart rhythms (like what happens to a patient suffering from Sudden Cardiac Arrest). If these irregular rhythms are detected, the defibrillator will then send a shock to the heart to return it to its natural rhythm—not to restart a heart that has already stopped entirely.
2. You need to be trained to use a defibrillator: Myth
Most modern defibrillators are designed so that they can be easily used by anyone in an emergency, even those who have never used a defib before and have not undergone any kind of training. Many AEDs will provide the user with very specific verbal and visual prompts which will instruct you exactly what to do throughout the entire resuscitation process. This will even include coaching you through the stages when you will be required to perform CPR.
3. Defibrillators can electrocute you if used in wet conditions: Myth
It’s very unlikely that the defib will send a shock if the conditions are too wet, for example, if the patient has collapsed in the rain and hasn’t been moved. We recommend that you first move the patient to a dry area and attempt to dry them off using a towel or whatever is available to you at the time. It’s unlikely that the electrode pads will stick properly to the chest of the patient if the area is too wet.
4. Defibrillators will still shock someone who has been misdiagnosed: Myth
Some people often worry that a defibrillator will send a shock to a patient who doesn’t actually require one and this can then cause them harm. A defibrillator will first assess the heart to see if there is an irregular heart rhythm which determines if a shock is required. This means that there won’t be a circumstance where a shock is delivered when not actually required. Modern defibrillators use state-of-the-art technologies to thoroughly assess the patient’s heart, so the event of a misdiagnosed shock is highly unlikely.
Purchase a defibrillator today:
The team of first aid experts here at FAAE recommends that all workplaces, schools and even households consider purchasing a defibrillator to have at the ready in case of a medical emergency. If Sudden Cardiac Arrest strikes, the chances of survival are significantly improved when a defib is used during resuscitation compared to when using only CPR.
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