A manual defibrillator is a medical device that provides an electrical shock to the heart of an individual experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. These electrical currents have the potential to save the patient's life and reset the heart rhythm back to normal. A manual Defibrillator is used when an individual's heart stops beating or they are experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

What Is A Manual Defibrillator?

Manual defibrillators are designed for EMTs, paramedics, and doctors during emergency situations when time is of the essence. Manual defibrillators are located in hospitals as well as ambulances. The device consists of two paddles that are placed on either side of the patient's chest and then connected to an electrical generator or battery pack that delivers an electric current through them. 

With a manual defibrillator, each aspect of defibrillation (this includes determining if a shock is needed, deciding when the shock is delivered, and setting the voltage level) is set and decided on by the user. Therefore, manual defibrillators should only be used by medical professionals trained in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). Using a manual defibrillator requires extensive knowledge of heart rhythms, the ability to decipher electrocardiograms quickly, and an understanding of energy levels and the timing of shocks. Each factor must be accurate and understood quickly in order to provide the best care the fastest. 

Manual Defibrillator: Additional Features 

In addition to the ability to set the voltage level and determine when a shock is provided, manual defibrillators have additional features that automated external defibrillators lack. In tandem with other medical devices, the manual defibrillator can monitor the oxygen levels within the blood, track the concentration of carbon dioxide in each exhale, and measure blood pressure. The two biggest features of a manual defibrillator that differs from an AED are non-invasive transcutaneous pacing and cardioversion.

  1. Non-Invasive Transcutaneous Pacing 

Non-invasive transcutaneous pacing or NTP is when the device provides pulses of energy to prompt the heart to contract. This can be used for patients that are stable but at risk like 

  • Individuals waiting to have a pacemaker implanted.
  • Patients waiting for cardiac surgery.
  • Individuals with acute myocardial infarctions with early signs of a heart attack.  

  1. Cardioversion 

Cardioversion is when the device sends short low energy electrical shocks to the heart to restore a normal rhythm. If the heart is beating too fast or is beating irregularly, cardioversion can help restore the heart to a regular rhythm. Many times for patients with arrhythmias or tachycardia this can quickly set the heart rhythm back to normal. 

What is an AED? 

An AED or automated external defibrillator is a device that can be used to provide an electric shock to the heart. This shock, known as defibrillation, helps restore normal heart rhythm and can help save the life of someone suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. AEDs can be found in public locations like schools, offices, gyms, grocery stores, and more. It is portable and easy to use, allowing people with minimal training to provide lifesaving treatment quickly. AEDs are designed to be used by ordinary bystanders, but medical professionals may also use them in emergency situations. An AED works by analyzing the heart's electrical activity and delivering an electric shock if deemed necessary. This shock helps restore the heart back to a normal rhythm, which has the potential to save a person’s life. 

Once medical professionals arrive on the scene after an AED was used the electrode pads can remain on the patient. If the machine the EMS team uses is of the same manufacture as the AED the electrode pads can be easily plugged into the new device. If the manufacturers are different, a connecting cable can be used to seamlessly connect the patient to the medical devices without having to replace the electrode pads - - saving precious time when every second counts. 

Manual Defibrillator Vs AED

Manual defibrillators and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are two different types of devices used to restore a normal heart rhythm in people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. Manual defibrillators require trained medical personnel to assess the patient, deliver shocks and monitor the patient's vital signs during treatment. An automated external defibrillator (AED) is an electronic device that can be used by average civilians and automatically detects certain life-threatening arrhythmias and then administer a shock if necessary without manual intervention from healthcare professionals.

Manual defibrillation requires more training, and expertise than using an AED, as it involves assessing the patient's condition and manually setting the voltage level before administering a shock. On the other hand, AEDs are designed for use by non-medically trained laypersons who often have little or no experience in providing emergency care. AEDs are easy to use since they can analyze heart rhythms and determine if a shock is necessary as well as provide verbal instructions for each step in the defibrillation process. Both AEDs and manual defibrillators serve the same purpose in trying to save an individual's life suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest.

Difference Between AED and Manual Defibrillators

A manual defibrillator is a medical device that sends an electric shock to the heart of someone who is having a sudden cardiac arrest. It is used by medical professionals like EMTs and doctors in emergency situations to help restart the heart and save the patient's life. AEDs are a type of device that can also be used to provide an electric shock to a person in cardiac arrest but can be used by people with minimal training. AEDs allow for quick access to lifesaving therapy by untrained users while still being relatively easy to operate, making them ideal for public places where quick response times are essential. With a manual defibrillator, the user can decide when to deliver the shock and set the energy level of the device. Without the safeguards of a typical AED, manual defibrillators require a high-level understanding and training in advanced cardiac life support. Both types of devices are lifesaving and can help restart the heart back to a normal rhythm.