The defibrillator basics

everyone should know

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) has the potential to strike at any moment—individuals of all ages and health levels are at risk of suffering a cardiac arrest, as you may have seen recently when Wiggles performer, Greg Page, suffered from SCA after performing at a bushfire relief concert last month. This is why it’s so important to have a defibrillator at the ready!

CPR is an essential tool, and we recommend learning CPR, but CPR alone may not always be the most effective treatment—when a defibrillator is used throughout resuscitation, survival rates are drastically improved.

With more people becoming aware of the importance of defibrillators and making the worthwhile investment of purchasing a defib, we’ve decided to create a simple summary to outline some of the defibrillator basics that everyone should know.

How do you use a defibrillator?

Modern defibrillators will provide you with step-by-step instructions of what to do throughout the entire resuscitation process. Your instructions will start from the moment you take the defib out of its case. You’ll be advised of exactly where and how to attach the electrode pads to the chest of the patient, there will also usually be a diagram which pictures that demonstrate the correct pad placement.

The defib will prompt you once it’s time to move away from the patient because a shock is about to be administered. Later in the resuscitation process when it’s time to conduct CPR, most defibrillators will even guide you through this stage, ensuring you’re performing CPR correctly and at the best possible rate. Defibs like the LIFEPAK CR2 Auto Essential will even provide a metronome beat that will help you keep at the right pace whilst performing CPR.

portable-defibrillator

What does a defibrillator do?
When a person is experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, they will usually be unresponsive and either won’t be breathing or won’t be breathing normally. Throughout a cardiac arrest, the heart will stop pumping blood around the body, which means the brain will be cut off from receiving oxygen. This will then result in the patient losing consciousness. It’s essential to act as quickly as possible when assisting a patient who is experiencing a cardiac arrest—this is why it’s so important to have a defibrillator readily available.

When the heart goes into cardiac arrest, it will start beating at an irregular rhythm. The main purpose of a defibrillator is to detect any of these irregular rhythms and then restore the heartbeat to a natural state by delivering a shock to the patient. The shock is delivered via electrode pads which are placed on the chest of the patient. If the defibrillator doesn’t detect an issue, it won’t administer a shock.

Want to learn more about defibrillators?

Contact the team of defib experts at FAAE today for all your questions and concerns when it comes to defibrillators.

Take a look at our online shop to see our extensive range of defibrillators and defibrillator packs.

If you’d like to refresh your first aid and CPR skills so that you’re prepared for a medical emergency, such as the management of a cardiac arrest, be sure to book yourself in for one of our courses via our online booking system.

Defibrillator in an alarmed wall cabinet with AED signage in a public accessible location

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