Defibrillators are life-saving devices used when a person’s heart rhythm is affected, most commonly in cardiac arrest. It sometimes forms part of the cardiopulmonary resuscitation process, more commonly known as CPR. Sometimes referred to as defibs or automatic AED, community defibrillators are often available in public spaces and workplaces for emergency situations and to save lives.

How do defibrillators work?

Defibrillators work by providing an electrical shock to the heart muscle. This shocks the muscle with the aim of re-establishing a normal rhythm. This process is called defibrillation.
Each defibrillator will have operating instructions to guide you through the process of defibrillation. The device consists of pads which will be placed onto the persons chest. There is then usually a button which you push to initiate the shock, or the device will be automatic and deliver the shock itself. It is essential that no one else is in contact with the person being shocked.

External vs. Internal Defibrillators

External defibrillators are often the most common type, as public access defibrillators can save more lives. These units are easy to use and located in workplaces, hospital, some ambulances, and are applied to the outside of the body.
Internal defibrillators are applied directly to the heart and are used in hospitals.

What is an AED Defibrillator?

AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. The "automatic" means that they can diagnose and treat a life-threatening arrhythmia. They are much simpler to use than manual defibrillators, but AEDs do require training before use.

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