The Benefits of Portable Defibrillators


A defibrillator is a device developed to combat cardiac arrest or heart attack brought on by a fibrillation or irregular heart rhythm.  This irregularity causes the heart to stop receiving enough blood and can result in sudden death if not treated properly.

The defibrillator delivers small electronic shocks to the heart designed to stimulate a return to a more manageable rate and rhythm.  Specifically, an electric current is channel through the body into the heart via electrodes or paddles placed on the chest.  The current causes the heart muscle to spasm or jolt, and hopefully ends any fibrillation threatening blow flow.

In years past the use of a heart defibrillator was place solely in the hand of heart physicians and emergency technicians.  The bulky and difficult to use device was dangerous in the hands of anyone but a trained professional, and they typically were not seen outside of a hospital or medical setting.  But with the development of smaller, easier to use, portable defibrillators, regular citizens can be called upon to be lifesavers.

These automated, portable defibrillators take much of the risk associated with their use by regular people.  Most importantly, they come with the ability to assess whether or not the patient in question even needs an electric current, and if he or she does, it pre-determines the wattage or power level.  A person cannot override the determination of the computer, so the potential for misuse is minimal. 

In addition, the light weight and portable nature of the last defibrillators makes them perfect for storage and use at any number of public venues including schools, gate communities, airports and sporting events. 

Zoll, one of the most well known makers of portable defibrillator products, have devices that make the life saving procedure easy, even for a person with little to no medical training or background.

The latest Zoll models specifically designed for public access are no bigger than a laptop computer and possess fully automated controls and instructions including voice prompts.  They automatically detect what treatment, if any, is needed for the patient and give specific, step-by-step instructions on how to give the proper care.  Minimally trained laypersons like security guards, flight attendants and office managers can use the portable defibrillator to potentially stave off death by cardiac arrest, or at least care for the patient until proper medical attention can be provided. 

Despite some debate among experts regarding the benefits of a portable defibrillator in the home, there is no denying the advantage of increased access to life saving measures for cardiac arrest victims outside of the hospital setting.  With nearly a million Americans dying each year as a result of cardiovascular disease, any measures that give a fighting chance to victims of sudden heart failure has to be regarded as a good thing.

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

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