A defibrillator or AED can be used externally in case of cardiac emergencies or often implanted surgically in individuals who have heart problems. They utilize electrical shocks in order to restore the normal heartbeat or start it again. As long as a defibrillator is used properly and cared for, it can help save a life.
Internal and external defibrillators
Individuals who suffer cardiac arrhythmia or other conditions involving an irregular heartbeat are often treated with the implantation of a defibrillator in the body. With an internal defibrillator, it is designed to detect once the heart slows or stops, then automatically sending an electrical shock required to help restore the beating of the heart.
An external defibrillator is a vital tool that can help save a life in case of a heart attack. Generally, it must be used within five minutes of a cardiac emergency to increase the chances of reviving the heart. Most of the external defibrillators are specifically designed to be easy to use and most have internal controls that help decide if a shock is needed.
Caring for an internal defibrillator
A defibrillator is comprised of a generator, programmer and set of wires. The generator and wires are surgically placed in the body. The programmer basically monitors the heart rate. Take note that the generator is comprised of a metal shell with a computer and battery, which transmits information to the programmer. As for the wire, it connects the interior of the heart to the generator. An internal defibrillator is often used when the heart muscle is almost beyond repair after a heart attack or heart diseases.
The device is an attachment that is placed within the body, but its presence is hardly noticeable. The surgery will take 30 minutes or an hour. After the placement, the individual will stay in the recovery room for the initial 2 hours. For the first 2 hours up to 4 weeks, the individual must avoid sleeping on the left side to avoid strain on the site.
Always ensure that the wires will not get disconnected by avoiding pressure on the shoulders and upper part of the body. The individual must refrain from heavy exercises for at least 6 months.
Caring for an external defibrillator
First and foremost, you have to be familiar on how to use the device. It is important to enroll in a first aid course that involves AED operation.
Always check the device at least once a month. Most models are built with a self-check feature. All you have to do is to turn on the device and follow the instructions for self-diagnosis. This typically involves ensuring all electrical components are functional and the device can be turned on.
The electrode pads also expire after some time. It is important to check the expiration date. You might have to open the case to check the expiration date. Once the pads expire, you have to buy a replacement to ensure that device is working properly.