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Defibrillator – A savior

“A single shock, given at a proper time and in an appropriate manner can save a human soul, which will pray for you throughout his life.”

In the present scenario, a lot of people face sudden death due to heart attack, life threatening arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), and sudden cardiac death (SCD) due to the lack of basic medical knowledge amongst the people around. A simple and easy knowledge of cardio-pulmonary cerebral resuscitation (CPCR), earlier known as cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), to the people, which can be given in the teaching institutions, work places, and anywhere, can save lives of many human beings. There are a lot of instances, where the people lost their life, in absence of immediate medical help and needful measures, even in the presence of the necessary medical devices like a defibrillator.

Defibrillator is a device, which is used to convert/revert life-threatening arrhythmias of the heart or to regain normal rhythm of the heart. There are certain other maneuvers like cardiac thumping, pharmacological measures, and the like, which may or may not be helpful in doing the same as a defibrillator can do. The most common arrhythmias, which are shockable, are ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. To detect these kinds of arrhythmias is very difficult and appears impossible to a layman, who is dealing with a patient located at a place where immediate medical help cannot arrive. The government has taken appropriate steps and made it mandatory to install such devices at crowded places like airports, railway stations, bus stands, work places, and parks.

There are four different kinds of defibrillators available in the market, which depend upon the nature of shocks delivered. The types of defibrillators are monophasic, which are outdated and not being used in day-to-day life; bi-phasic, which are most commonly used in all the medical centers and ambulances, should be used under supervision of a trained medical practitioner or by an expert healthcare professional. There is another class of defibrillators, i.e., implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or automated internal cardiac defibrillator (AICD), which can be implanted in the human body and which can detect the rhythm on its own and delivers the shock, whenever required. The automated external defibrillator (AED) is a device that detects the rhythm on its own and shocks, if required.

The AED is a device, which is usually installed at public places mentioned above. It does not require a trained health provider to determine the rhythm. This device has improved the outcomes in the situations of life-threatening arrhythmias and out-of-hospital sudden cardiac death. In the changing world, it has been seen that such devices are being installed and made mandatory at all the public places, but in a country like India, where more than 50 percent of the population is illiterate, still living in villages, and does not understand the gravity of the disease/cardiac arrhythmias and other ailments, one may not expect such devices to be used in a proper manner.

Hence, in the last, being a health professional and a responsible citizen of India, I would like to advise the government to make it mandatory to install such devices at all public places, schools, colleges, institutions, and all work places, and to make it mandatory for each and every student of the schools, colleges, institutions, and each and every worker of any government or private work place; to know, how to operate defibrillator and proceed for CPCR and basic life support (BLS) training. The government should take necessary action and give some sort of subsidy in procuring such devices at the above-mentioned places.

Not only the government, but each and every health professional should also take the initiative to teach and to inform about the use of such an important device to all his colleagues and people around. This will definitely change the scenario and will make a new beginning in the process of saving life.

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