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Types Of Defibrillators

The Different Types Of Defibrillators

The world of medical technology is ever-expanding. There are new and innovative solutions to old problems, and there are solutions to problems that no one knew they had. Defibrillation is no exception.

The heart has four chambers, two atria and two ventricles. The atria transfer blood into the ventricles and vice versa. The electrical impulses that transfer this information create a heartbeat—a rhythmic contraction and expansion of the ventricles in which blood is either forced out into the body or absorbed by the rest of the heart. Whenever this process breaks down, as it can if the heart is damaged by disease or trauma, a cardiac arrest occurs: the heart stops beating properly, and unless it can be restored to normal function within minutes or seconds, eventual death will occur. For this reason, defibrillation—the use of an electric shock to restore a rhythm—is considered a staple in cardiology.

There are three types of defibrillators: automated external defibrillators (AEDs), wearable cardioverter defibrillators (WCDs) and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). These three devices all perform the same task but with small differences that make them suitable for specific situations.

1. Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

An Automated External Defibrillator is a portable electronic device that provides an electric shock to the heart of a person in cardiac arrest, in an attempt to restore the heartbeat back to a normal rhythm. AEDs are designed to be easy to use by non-medical professionals and can be used by anyone even without training.

2. Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator is a device that provides electrical stimulation to the heart through electrodes implanted in the chest wall. An ICD detects abnormal heart rhythms and delivers therapeutic electrical impulses to restore normal sinus rhythm. It's used for people who have serious ventricular arrhythmias that aren't well-controlled with medication, especially if they've had complications from them. ICDs are also used in some people after they've had a stroke or if they're at high risk of heart attack. 

3. Wearable Cardioverter Defibrillator (WCD)

A wearable cardioverter-defibrillator (WCD) is similar to an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), but it's not implanted in your chest wall or body. Instead, it's worn like a vest. You wear the vest under your clothes, and it monitors your heart rate and rhythm 24 hours per day. If the device detects an abnormal rhythm or fast heart rate, it delivers electrical energy to restore normal sinus rhythm without harming you in any way. 

Whether You're At Home, The Gym, Or At Work, There's A Type Of Defibrillator That Can Help Protect You

The good news is that AEDs are available in many public locations, and can be found fairly easily online. The majority of them also come with training materials, so you're ready to go as soon as you get it set up. Overall, automated external defibrillators are essential for any household or work environment. If you or your loved ones are at risk for cardiac arrest, it's definitely worth the  cost to keep an AED on hand.

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