An external defibrillator and an internal defibrillator are essentially the same machine, serving the same purpose, but in two different scenarios. An internal defibrillator is classified as such because it is actually implanted into the patient’s body in order to continuously monitor the heart rate and deliver automated defibrillation if it detects a dangerous drop in the heart rate. An external defibrillator, on the other hand, is meant to be an external device kept on hand for the possibility of an emergency cardiac arrest.
An external defibrillator is generally a portable device that is strategically placed, often in wall cabinets, in locations where large numbers of people gather; churches, office buildings, hotels, casinos, and even hospitals often keep an external defibrillator or multiple external defibrillators on hand. Internal defibrillators, on the other hand, are generally prescribed to an individual who is at risk of suffering a cardiac arrest or heart attack.
The purpose of having an external defibrillator on hand in any public setting is to be able to treat sudden cardiac arrest. Unlike a heart attack, a sudden cardiac arrest can occur at any time to anyone –regardless of their health or the health of their heart. It is a sudden and catastrophic event, and having an external defibrillator on hand can literally mean the difference between life and death. At the onset of a sudden cardiac arrest, the heart begins to die at a rate of 10% per minute, which means that ten minutes equates to death. At five minutes the brain permanent brain damage can occur, and the chances of damage increase with every second. An external defibrillator administered within the first five minutes can literally mean not only the difference between life and death, but an external defibrillator can also mean the difference between living a normal life or living a life hindered by possible neurological problems, or possibly even living in a vegetative state.
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