Can A Defibrillator Really Restart A Heart?

A black and yellow Defibtech Lifeline AED

What Is A Defibrillator?

A defibrillator is a medical device that delivers an electric current to restore normal heart rhythm in people having sudden cardiac arrest. It's often referred to as an AED — automated external defibrillator — because it automatically analyzes the patient's condition and delivers an appropriate shock if necessary.

Though they mainly find their way into hospitals and other medical facilities, portable defibrillators are becoming more commonplace outside of the hospital setting as well. These devices don't require a great deal of training to use, and many people have had some kind of exposure to them. If you were an athlete in high school or college, you might have been trained how to use one—and if you've ever seen the TV show House, you already know how defibrillators work!

Durable and compact, this device can be carried in a backpack or small case and it's ready to go when called upon. That being said, multiple layers of protection exist to prevent unwanted shocks—the device will not work if there is any chance that it could be used incorrectly.

This handy device has saved thousands of lives during its relatively short history—with the help of advances in technology, we can expect that number to grow in the future.

What Happens When Someone Is In Cardiac Arrest?

When someone goes into cardiac arrest, their heart stops pumping blood around the body. This stops oxygen reaching the brain and other organs and tissues, which can lead to brain damage or death within minutes if not treated quickly and effectively with both CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and an AED. 

How Does The Body Respond To A Shock?

When you get shocked with a defibrillator, it sends an electric current through your body that changes your heartbeat back to normal rhythm. This is known as "defibrillation." Your heart has four chambers: 

  • two upper chambers called atria; and 

  • two lower chambers called ventricles. 

When your heart beats normally, blood flows into both atria at the same time then out of both ventricles at the same time. In this way, blood flows continually through your body. If your heart goes into fibrillation, however, the chambers don't beat together properly anymore — instead they contract independently of each other and pump blood irregularly around your body.

The defibrillation process involves applying electrodes on both sides of the patient's chest wall, delivering an electrical current through them so as to stimulate the heart muscle into a normal rhythm again. 

Can Anyone Use A Defibrillator?

Defibrillators have a simple purpose: to restart the heart if it's stopped beating normally. They're designed for anyone to be able to use them—as long as you know how to follow some basic directions and push some buttons, you can save a life with a defibrillator. This is great news for anyone who happens to find themselves in the right place at the right time and in proximity to someone who really needs one! That said, anyone can use a defibrillator.

AEDs Really Work! Learn More About How

The most important thing about AEDs that you should know is that they really work. You can save lives, and you can do your part to prevent sudden cardiac death from striking your family and friends. Due to the fact that AEDs are safe, easy to use, and user-friendly, they are in great demand among the public.

AED Advantage has provided emergency medical equipment for busy professionals, small businesses, and organizations throughout Canada. In each case, we've worked with clients to provide rapid delivery and excellent customer service. We strive to be the top provider of AEDs nationwide, and we're committed to helping keep our customers safe. Contact AED Advantage today to learn more!

Link to share

Use this link to share this article