What is a defibrillator?

A defibrillator is a crucial medical device designed to restore a normal heartbeat by delivering an electric pulse or shock to the heart. It is primarily used in emergencies to treat life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, including ventricular fibrillation and pulseless ventricular tachycardia, which are conditions where the heart beats irregularly and cannot pump blood effectively.

There are several types of defibrillators:

1. Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs): These are portable devices commonly found in public places such as airports, schools, and sports arenas. AEDs are designed for use by laypersons and provide step-by-step instructions, making them user-friendly in emergencies.

2. Manual External Defibrillators: These are typically used by healthcare professionals and provide more control over the shock delivery. They require the operator to interpret the heart rhythm and decide when to deliver a shock.

3. Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators (ICDs): These are surgically implanted devices that continuously monitor the heart rhythm and automatically deliver a shock if a dangerous arrhythmia is detected.

4. Wearable Cardioverter-Defibrillators (WCDs): These are worn by patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest. They monitor the heart and deliver a shock if necessary.

Defibrillators are vital in increasing the chances of survival and recovery during cardiac emergencies. By providing a timely electric shock, they can help re-establish an effective heart rhythm, potentially saving lives.