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Automated External Defibrillators (AED) (cont.)


Manual defibrillation, which is the traditional form of defibrillation performed by health care professional, is a complex skill.

  • First, the operator must have the ability to interpret an electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG) heart rhythms.
  • The operator also needs to be able to recognize what ECG abnormalities require defibrillation and which ones do not. (For example, a person with a "flat line" ECG would not require, or benefit from, defibrillation.)
  • The operator needs to know how to manually operate the particular model of defibrillator that is available.

Originally, defibrillators were used only in hospitals.

  • As the units became more portable, and as early EMS systems began to develop in the United States in the early 1970s, defibrillators began to be used outside the hospital by carefully trained and supervised paramedics.
  • This was a significant step forward in increasing the chance of survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Rather than transporting the victim to a defibrillator, the defibrillator was transported to the victim.

Because of the delay inherent in getting an ambulance to the cardiac arrest victim within those critical first few minutes, many people continued to die from ventricular fibrillation.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/23/2015
Atrial Fibrillation Slideshow

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