CPR First Aid

What is the Purpose of Electrical Defibrillation

What is the Purpose of Electrical Defibrillation?

What is electrical defibrillation? What happens to the heart when defibrillation occurs? These are all common questions that many people ask, especially those who have not enrolled in first aid courses in Perth. Electrical defibrillation is one of the topics covered in first aid training since it is a first aid treatment for life-threatening emergencies. You may get an idea about it by reading the below. Acquiring the skills in correctly performing it may be done by being a certified first aider.

What is Electrical Defibrillation?

Defibrillation is a first aid response to life-threatening emergencies such as severe arrhythmia or cardiac arrest. In this process, electric shocks are administered to the heart so it may reset to its normal rhythm. This first aid treatment may be done through different types of defibrillation devices.

What are the Types of Defibrillation Devices?

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

  • Automated External Defibrillators (AED)
  • Advanced Life Support Defibrillators
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs)
  • Wearable defibrillators

Each type may only be used by a certain group of people and specific locations. The most common type of defibrillation device is the Automated External Defibrillators (AED)

What is an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)?

The Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is the most common type of defibrillation device since it is portable and may be found in public places such as schools, government offices, malls, gyms, sports arenas, and airports. It is used in first aid management for cardiac arrest. It is also the only prescribed defibrillation device for home use. For these reasons, more people are enrolling in accredited first aid courses in Perth so they may be trained in using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and acquire other life-saving skills and knowledge.

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 an Advanced Life Support Defibrillator?

The Advanced Life Support 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.

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 a 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 a cardiac arrest but are not candidates for an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).

What is the Purpose of Electrical Defibrillation?

Electrical Defibrillation is performed on patients with severe arrhythmia or those in cardiac arrest who do not have a pulse in an attempt to restore the rhythm of their heartbeat and save their lives.

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 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. 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. The emergency first aid for cardiac arrest involves performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and conducting electrical defibrillation.

When must Electrical Defibrillation be performed?

Once a person stops breathing and the heart has stopped beating, electrical defibrillation may be done if a defibrillation device is available. Ideally, this may be performed by a trained first aider. 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 beating 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 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 life-threatening emergencies such as severe arrhythmia or cardiac arrest. It is done by 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) since it is portable and is prescribed for home and public use. It may be used by a first aider who may have gone through a first aid course in Perth and acquired a certification. 

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