the defibrillator - why and how
How does a defibrillator really work?
Learn how a defibrillator works on your heart. Discover how television and movies get it wrong...
From the outset there are two myths about (unsyncrhronised) defibrillation that we must clear up.
While a defibrillator does not "restart" the heart, it is very useful in the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest (8-9 minutes), particularly in adults. Instead of the heart stopping in cardiac arrest, approximately 80-85% of adults will develop a chaotic heart rhythm following a cardiac arrest that does not pump blood to the brain or other vital organs.
These chaotic rhythms can be "wiped-out" with a defibrillator and so give the heart a chance to re-establish its own natural rhythm.
Every minute the casualty is in cardiac arrest the chances of successful resuscitation, decrease between 7-10%. The best outcome from defibrillation (<74%) occurs if the first shock can be delivered to the casualty within 3 minutes of collapse.
What is good CPR?
Good CPR makes a huge difference in survival rates...but what is "good CPR". How is it done and who is capable of performing effective CPR.
Preparing the skin for defibrillator pad placement
Learn how to properly prepare the skin to ensure that your defibrillator pads work properly...
Unlike the "paddles" used by hospital defibrillators, today AEDs use the safer option of self adhesive pads attached to the chest. These single use pads while safer in providing a safe distance from the casualty, also require some additional skin preparation to be effective.
All defibrillators (or the pad package) should be equipment with a skin preparation kit to ensure good adhesion of the pads to the chest. Good adhesion is important to ensure good electrical conduction is achieved. This kit should contain;
When using the defibrillator on children (1 - 8 years), most AEDs will require a different pad type and have a different placement.