The Automated External Defibrillator
By Graham Hobbs
Every now and then throughout history, a medical machine or device evolves to a point where it can greatly impact the health and well-being of mankind. The automated external defibrillator is one such device. In the last few years, due to advancements in design and technology, the popularity of these devices has grown exponentially.
Not long ago these devices were only used by trained professionals such as doctors and ambulance crews. Back then the smallest defibrillator was large, heavy and technically hard to use – and it was potentially very dangerous to the operator.
The main function of the defibrillator is to restart the heart of someone suffering cardiac arrest. But given that victims usually die within five minutes of the attack, and given that the average time it takes an ambulance to reach the site of an emergency situation is at least nine minutes, most victims used to die before help reached them.
Enter a new breed of defibrillator.
Thanks to electronics miniaturization plus major advances in cardiac research, external defibrillators have become smaller (about the size of a baseball mitt), relatively inexpensive (you can pick one up for well under $1500), much safer, and far easier to use. Not to mention the fact that they now even more effective.
In fact, many AED's on the market today can be used by someone with no previous medical training. This is because the defibrillator can assess whether or not the victim is in need of defibrillation, and if so, will audibly and visually guide the operator through the entire process of defibrillation.
The way they work are: the defibrillator will first test and determine if defibrillation is even necessary. Two paddles (electrodes) are then placed on the victim's torso after a gel is applied to reduce electrical impedance. An electrical shock is then administered through the body to the heart. This is repeated if necessary until the heart begins beating again naturally and synchronously.
How well do they work? Your chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest are less than 5% if a defibrillator is not used within a few minutes of the event. Conversely, if a defibrillator is on hand you will have an over 90% chance of survival.
Automated external defibrillators are showing up in public and private places at an ever-increasing rate. This can only be a good thing since only a small percentage of people suffer cardiac arrest in a fully equipped medical facility.
Currently the only defibrillator you can buy without a prescription is the Philips Heart Start. With a prescription there are more choices available. So whether you're in the home or the office, an RV or boat, I say, let's get one and live a safer life.
About the Author
Graham Hobbs is a successful Webmaster and publisher. Visit his web site: http://www.defibrillator-automated-external.com. It covers the Automated External Defibrillators, sudden cardiac arrest, heart attacks, and more.
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