Does a defibrillator help with a cardiac arrest?

Does a defibrillator help with a cardiac arrest?

A cardiac arrest occurs when someone has an electrical problem with their heart, they are unpredictable and can occur to anybody at any time regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, they will lose consciousness and stop breathing and would require immediate, emergency care.

If you are with someone who has fallen ill due to a cardiac arrest, you must call an ambulance, begin CPR and get the nearest defibrillator. Defibrillators don’t just help when someone suffers a cardiac arrest, they can make the difference between life and death. Increasing the likelihood of survival ten-fold, if a defibrillator is used within the first minute of falling ill, the chances of survival can be as high as 90%. For every minute that a defibrillator is not used however, these statistics drastically reduce.

As cardiac arrests can occur at any time, you may see them located in many public areas such as in your local town, in the supermarket, sports centre or at work. When out and about, it’s always a good idea to look out for your closest defibrillators in case of an emergency. You can also look online to find a map which locates all public access defibrillators in the country.

Defibrillators work by scanning the heart’s rhythm and determining whether a shock is needed. If you have an automatic defibrillator (AED) it will deliver the shock for you and if not, the defibrillator will simply alert you to push a button which will then, in turn deliver the shock.

The purpose of delivering a shock is to help the heart start beating at its normal natural, pace. It is important to remember that a defibrillator will never deliver a shock when one is not needed and so you never need to worry about causing further harm to a cardiac arrest victim.

Lots of people find it overwhelming to use a defibrillator as at face value, they can look complex. The reality is though, that defibrillators are designed for use by anyone with most having audio and visual prompts guiding you through the process. This means that medical professionals and passers-by can both use a defibrillator to save a life.

Cardiac arrests don’t discriminate and can occur to anyone. It is important that as many people as possible know about defibrillators and the difference they can make. Spreading knowledge and educating as many people as possible can help increase the survival rates for those suffering a cardiac arrest.

10th Feb 2021 Christopher Maltby CW

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