Defibrillation

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Defibrillation is the definitive treatment for the life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, ventricular fibrillation and pulseless ventricular tachycardia. Defibrillation consists of delivering a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the affected heart with a device called a defibrillator. This depolarizes a critical mass of the heart muscle, terminates the arrhythmia, and allows normal sinus rhythm to be reestablished by the body's natural pacemaker, in the sinoatrial node of the heart. Defibrillators can be external, transvenous, or implanted, depending on the type of device used or needed. Some external units, known as automated external defibrillators (AEDs), automate the diagnosis of treatable rhythms, meaning that lay responders or bystanders are able to use them successfully with little, or in some cases no training at all.

Contents

History

Defibrillation was first demonstrated in 1899 by Jean Louis Prevost and Frederic Batelli, two physiologists from University of Geneva, Switzerland. They discovered that small electric shocks could induce ventricular fibrillation in dogs, and that larger charges would reverse the condition.

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