What is a Defibrillator?
Defibrillation is a procedure used to treat life threatening conditions that affect the rhythm of the heart such as cardiac arrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation and pulseless ventricular tachycardia.
The procedure involves the delivery of an electric shock to the heart which causes depolarisation of the heart muscles and re-establishes normal conduction of the heart’s electrical impulse. The machine used to deliver this therapeutic shock to the heart is called a defibrillator.
The different types of defibrillators used include external defibrillators, transvenous defibrillators and implanted defibrillators.
Defibrillation was first presented by Prevost and Batelli, two physiologists from University of Geneva, Switzerland in 1899. In animal studies, they observed that small electric shocks delivered to the heart could trigger ventricular fibrillation, while the delivery of large electrical charges could reverse the fibrillation.