Ein Überlebenskasten mit einem Defibrillator an einer Wand eines öffentlichen Gebäudes.

Correcting Abnormal Heart Rhythms: A Guide to the Types of Defibrillators

You’ve likely seen defibrillators on those medical TV shows, where the doctor shocks a patient and brings them back to life. And everything is happy once again.

But do you know much about defibrillators? It’s essential to know about the different types of defibrillators so that you can be prepared to save a life. There were over 356,000 cardiac arrests that took place in 2018 outside of the hospital.

A defibrillator is crucial for people with abnormal heart rhythms, so keep reading to find out everything you need to know.

Cardiac Arrest

When you have a sudden cardiac arrest, your heart and breathing stop, and you lose consciousness. Usually, this results from your heart’s electrical system misfiring, which disrupts your heartbeat.

A sudden cardiac arrest isn’t the same thing as having a heart attack which is typically the result of blocked blood flow.

What Is a Defibrillator

Defibrillators are devices that restart the heart using electrical shocks. It can also fix irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) and cardiac arrest.

CPR along with using a defibrillator dramatically increases the chance of survival until medical help arrives.

Different Types of Defibrillators

Defibrillators can be internal or external. They’re used in different settings such as public buildings, hospitals, doctor’s offices, and everyday life.

Internal Defibrillators

An Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD) is a surgically implanted device right below the collar bone. The ICD works 24 hours a day to keep your heart ticking.

This device has three parts: a built-in pacemaker, an electrical pulse generator, and wires with electrodes inside the heart.

If the ICD detects an abnormal heart rate, it sends out an electrical shock to normalize it again. It can also act as a pacemaker when your heart beats too slowly.

Although an ICD can restore your heart rhythm to normal, the one thing it can’t do is prevent the abnormal rhythm from happening in the first place.

External Defibrillators

You’ll commonly see advanced life support (ALS) defibrillators in hospital settings and ambulances. These units have advanced functions allowing medical professionals to monitor oxygen levels, pulse, and heart rate.

Automated external defibrillators (AED) can efficiently operate units that anybody can use, even with basic training. And in 2002, a law was signed to make AED available in the US in all public buildings such as gyms, airports, and athletic events.

Most states have training standards, specified AED locations, and “Good Samaritan” laws to protect people from liability.

The AED automatically guides you through everything, and tells you where to place the electrodes, and automatically analyzes the heart rhythm to determine what to do next.

The one drawback to AEDs is they can take from 10 to 20 seconds to analyze and diagnose a rhythm, which is time you often don’t have.

And whether your drive an ambulance or your car every day and carry an AED around for emergencies, you’ll need these mounts to keep yourself safe and everything in place.

Types of Defibrillators

Now that you know all about the types of defibrillators, you’ll better be able to handle an emergency.

You never know when a health crisis will strike, so the best you can do is be prepared and knowledgeable!

If you enjoyed this guide, then check out our blog for more fantastic facts!