CPR First Aid

What is Electrical Defibrillation and What Does it Do to the Heart?

Electrical Defibrillation is a first aid response to life-threatening emergencies such as severe arrhythmia or cardiac arrest.

Electrical defibrillation is a first aid response to a severe arrhythmia or cardiac arrest. The goal of this first aid treatment is to reset the heart’s normal rhythm. Since it is one of the many crucial first aid practices, it is ideally performed by a first aider who has gone through intensive first aid training and assessment of properly and correctly doing it. Such training is provided in a first aid course in 123C Colin St West Perth 6005. This course allows the below information to be useful which will cover further details about electrical defibrillation, type of devices, arrhythmia, and cardiac arrest.

What is Electrical Defibrillation?

Electrical defibrillation is one of the available first aid management for severe arrhythmia or cardiac arrest that may possibly be life-threatening emergencies. In this process, electric shocks are administered to the heart so it may reset to its normal rhythm. This first aid step may be done through different types of defibrillation devices.

Defibrillation: Electric shocks reset heart rhythm, vital in emergencies.

What are the Types of Defibrillation Devises?

There are different types of defibrillation devices which are also called defibrillators:

  • Automated External Defibrillators (AED).
  • Manual defibrillators.
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs).
  • Wearable defibrillators.

Each type may only be used by a certain group of people and specific locations., according to Health Direct. It is an Australian government-funded service that provides quality, approved health information and advice. In one of their website posts, they have described where and who may use the above defibrillation devices. One of their descriptions is about the Automated External Defibrillators (AED) being found in public places that may be used by anybody in an emergency. 

What is an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)?

The public places where an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) may be found are the following:

  • Schools.
  • Government offices.
  • Malls.
  • Gyms.
  • Sports arenas.
  • Airports. 

Health Direct states that AED’s may save a person’s life who is having a cardiac arrest, especially if it is used sooner. For this reason, an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is part of the first aid management for cardiac arrest. So, proper usage of an Automated External Defibrillator is important and it may be learned and assessed by enrolling in accredited first aid courses in Perth

It may be done by anyone, especially for immediate family members and relatives of a person who has existing heart conditions and coronary artery disease. Both of these conditions are risk factors that may lead to sudden cardiac arrest as stated by Mayo Clinic. It is a non-profit organisation that complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.

How much is an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)?

In Australia, an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) may cost from about $1500 to $4,000. Prices vary depending on the features of AED. One of its essential parts is a defibrillator pad that may be purchased from first aid course providers in Perth, as well as the other first aid kit essentials.

What is a Manual Defibrillator?

A Manual Defibrillator is for medical professional use and is usually found in hospitals and emergency medical transport vehicles. It allows the user to control the patient’s heart rate and manually intercede if a shock is required. These are just a few of its advanced monitoring parameters that may not be available in other types of defibrillation devices.

"Medical defib: controls heart rate, shocks if needed. Advanced monitoring for pros."

What is an Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs)?

The Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is surgically inserted into a patient’s chest by a doctor, health, or medical professional. This surgery is performed on people who are at a high risk of having cardiac arrest. 

What is a Wearable defibrillator?

This type of defibrillation device looks like a vest that may be worn by people at high risk of having cardiac arrest but are not candidates for an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).

What is the Purpose of Electrical Defibrillation?

Defibrillators are used to perform electrical defibrillation as a  first aid response to restore the heartbeat which may be caused by:

  • Arrhythmia.
  • Stopping of the heart, which may occur in cardiac arrest.

Such definition is acquired from the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which is under the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. They provide global leadership for research, training, and education program to prevent and treat heart, lung, and blood disorders.

What is Arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia is a heart problem that may cause the heart’s rhythm to beat irregularly. This arises when the electrical signals that coordinate the heart’s beats don’t work properly. It may lead to the following according to Healthline, a website that provides evidence-based health and wellness information:

  • A slower heartbeat (called bradycardia).
  • A faster heartbeat (called tachycardia).
  • Too early heartbeat (called premature contraction).
  • Too erratically heartbeat (called fibrillation).
  • An irregular heartbeat.

Arrhythmias may be common and may not even show symptoms. However, some of them may be severe and may be problematic. It may interfere with blood flow to the body and may damage vital organs. Arrhythmia is also known to be the immediate cause of cardiac arrest.

What is Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest is a serious heart condition that happens when a malfunctioned heart suddenly stops pumping blood. It is the term used when a heart suddenly losses its function as mentioned in one of NSW Health’s consumer guides. It is a website by the South Wales Australian government. If this occurs, it may lead to a person’s loss of heartbeat, breathing, and consciousness. If first aid treatment is not done immediately, it may cause a person’s disability or even death as mentioned by Healthline. Such first aid responses may be performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation according to NSW Health

"Cardiac arrest: heart stops, blood pump fails. NSW Health consumer guide."

When must Electrical Defibrillation be performed?

NSW Health further explains that electrical defibrillation may be done as soon as possible if a defibrillation device is available. It may be performed by a trained first aider or someone who has experience with CPR and defibrillation. If this is not the case, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may be done while waiting for emergency help. Doing so keeps oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and heart to get the heart to beat normally. 

What Does Electrical Defibrillation Do to the Heart?

In electrical defibrillation, a high electric shock is delivered by a defibrillation device to a person’s heart in an attempt to restore its correct rhythm.

How Does Electrical Defibrillation Work?

A quick explanation of how electrical defibrillation works is outlined by Cardio Partners a company that specialises in the sales and service of cardiac care products since 1999 and has been deploying AED programs. According to them, a defibrillation device depolarizes the whole heart system, giving the heart a “fresh start” to repolarize and return to a normal heartbeat.

After this process, the new heartbeat will be monitored by the defibrillator. Depending on the rate, the defibrillation device will advise you to either repeat the process or make sure the patient does not slip back into arrhythmia. If the shock is not strong enough, the heart may not completely repolarize, causing the continuity of arrhythmia.

What are Depolarization and Repolarization?

Cardiac cells at rest are in a polarized state as there is no electrical activity. There is a resting potential when the cell membrane of the cardiac muscle cell separates different concentrations of ions (sodium, potassium, and calcium).

In depolarization, the ions cross the cell membrane and cause an action potential. The movement of ions across the cell membrane (through sodium, potassium, and calcium channels), is the drive that leads to the contraction of the cardiac cells/muscle. Depolarization with the corresponding contraction of myocardial muscle moves like a wave through the heart.

In repolarization, the ions return to their previous resting state, leading to the relaxation of the myocardial muscle.


Electrical Defibrillation is a first aid response to a severe arrhythmia or cardiac arrest. It is done using a defibrillation device to deliver a high electric shock to a person’s heart to restore its correct rhythm and save a patient’s life. The most common defibrillation device is the Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Because it is portable and may be used by the public or by a first aider who may have gone through a first aid course in Perth and acquired a certification.

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