Do physicians on the critical care team perform defibrillation?

Tamla Wells
Critical Care Nursing

Yes, physicians can perform defibrillation. However, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other members of the critical care team trained in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), can also defibrillate using a manual defibrillator in the hospital. Defibrillation entails using a machine, called a defibrillator, to deliver an electric shock to the heart at a specific energy level. This shock attempts to halt life threatening heart rhythms and restore a regular heart rhythm. Interesting fact, outside the hospital setting, Automated External Defibrillators (AED) are very user friendly and provide step by step instructions, that allow bystanders to defibrillate in an emergency until trained medical personnel arrive. Automated External Defibrillators are available in a wide variety of settings, such as schools, malls, ballparks.

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