It’s a good idea to learn the different types of AED monitors to know which one you need. Without defibrillators, a person going into cardiac arrest might not get the right help to regain consciousness. People who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and are treated with an AED in the first 10 minutes of the unfortunate event have greater chances of surviving the arrest.
When it comes to defibrillators, people know them as gadgets that use electrical pulses or jolts to the heart to restore a heartbeat that has malfunctioned. As such, the purpose of a defibrillator is to prevent or even rectify arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats that are too fast or too slow).
AEDs are the most commonly known defibrillators used for resuscitating a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. These devices serve several purposes, which we’ll elaborate on below.
Basic Operational Functions of AEDs
In the event a person’s heart stops abruptly, the heart can be restored by a defibrillator. There are different types of defibrillators that work in different ways. For example, an automatic external defibrillator is one medical device that can be found in public places for the sole purpose of helping a cardiac arrest victim regain consciousness.
Public-access AEDs are meant to be used by bystanders to deliver first aid in the crucial initial minutes of a cardiac arrest event. Other types of defibrillators are designed to monitor and revert the situation in case of a heart attack, arrhythmia, and other life-threatening situations.
|What Is an AED?
In general, an automatic external defibrillator is a compact, lightweight, and portable device that runs on batteries. It scans the heart rhythm and restores the heartbeat by delivering electric shocks to the heart. An AED comes with sensor pads called electrodes that stick to the person’s chest. These electrodes send data on the person’s heart rhythm to the computer within the AED. Next, the computer analyzes the heart rhythm and assesses whether a shock should be delivered.
Types of Defibrillator Monitors
Knowing The Different Types of AED Monitors can be vital for the saving of a person’s life in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Regarding the fact that each cardiac emergency is different, knowing which AED to use can make a huge difference.
In essence, there is a semi-automatic and a fully automated version of an automatic external defibrillator. In addition, there are other types of defibrillators used in specific medical emergencies.
Manual External Defibrillator
As opposed to automatic external defibrillators, MEDs (manual external defibrillators) are medical machines intended for more professional use. In general, MEDs are devices found in ambulance rooms and hospitals; in other words, MEDs are not public-access devices.
Because manual defibrillators (both external and internal) deliver personalized electrical shocks to the heart, these devices should only be used by a medical professional trained in ACLS (advanced cardiac life support). Providing the right shock at the right time requires medical background and extensive knowledge of heart rhythms.
In addition, professionals handling these devices have training in reading ECG/EKG (electrocardiogram) data with precision to be able to diagnose the patient with a particular cardiac state.
EMS staff often use a manual defibrillator on a victim suffering sudden cardiac arrest after being transferred to a hospital or an ambulance. Moreover, medical professionals also use manual defibrillators on babies (under one year of age) suffering a sudden cardiac arrest.
Also known as a Holter monitor, an arrhythmia monitor is a small device meant for wearing. The monitor registers the heart rhythm and detects any irregularities in the heartbeat, called arrhythmia. Modern AEDs come equipped with an arrhythmia monitor to ease the process of determining whether a shock to the heart is due.
Implantable cardiac monitors (ICMs) are devices used in cases when long-term cardiac monitoring is needed. These small devices are implanted into a person’s chest and detect the heart’s electrical activity. The ICMs allow doctors to monitor a person’s heartbeat remotely and act accordingly if needed.
Heart Rate Monitor
Heart rate monitors are medical devices designed to detect and keep track of the heartbeat and pulse uninterruptedly. In general, such devices can be worn and deliver accurate data. Modern AEDs are also equipped with heart rate monitoring features that allow the medical staff to gain insight into a person’s pulse and heart rate. With the development of today’s technology, we see heart monitors that are part of smartphones, smartwatches, and fitness trackers.
In general, the following situations require the use of heart rate monitors:
- To track the heart rate while exercising and performing physical activities;
- To monitor the level of activity and stress while performing everyday activities;
- To track the quality of sleep;
- To observe a person’s vital signs in the case of health concerns and existing medical conditions.
A cardiac monitor is an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) used to monitor and present irregular heartbeats, aka arrhythmias. Cardiac monitoring revolves around sporadic or constant tracking of cardiac activity with the sole purpose of determining a person’s heart rhythm.
In cases with irregular heartbeats, an ICD is used to deliver an electric shock to the heart. If you’re known to have a persisting and seriously fast heartbeat, your doctor might suggest implanting a cardiac monitor. Monitoring a person’s cardiac function allows doctors to determine whether the individual suffers from ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia.
Your doctor might suggest an ICD in the case of:
- A history of coronary artery disease;
- Heart attacks that have withered the cardiac muscle;
- The presence of an augmented heart muscle;
- Genetic predispositions increase the risk of a perilously fast heartbeat;
- Other congenital conditions that might interfere with a normal heartbeat.
Now let’s move on to the next one on the list of the different types of AED monitors.
An ECG monitor, also known as an electrocardiogram, is a device that monitors and stores the heart’s electrical signals. An ECG monitor tells doctors how healthy a heart is and if there are any underlying cardiac issues.
Doctors are the ones that mainly use AEDs, but these devices also have other purposes, like delivering ECG data. When an EMS personnel treats a cardiac arrest victim with an AED, they can use this data and get an accurate reading of the electrical activity in the heart.
In general, a medical professional in a clinic, an emergency room, or an ambulance is the only person that can perform an electrocardiogram (an ECG or EKG). As we mentioned, an ECG is used to track the electric cardiac activity in the following medical conditions:
- In the case of arrhythmias;
- In the case an individual has had a heart attack previously;
- If an individual has an implanted pacemaker;
- In the event of chest pain;
- Shortness of breath;
- Cardiac palpitations;
The massive efficiency and functionality of AEDs lie in their ability to offer multifunctional monitoring of several cardiac activities. These include the heart’s electrical activity, heartbeat, heart rate, and more.
The majority of cutting-edge AEDs today come equipped with all the necessary features to enable accurate readings of the cardiac state of the victim falling into cardiac arrest or suffering a heart attack.
In general, an automatic external defibrillator can monitor the following functions:
- ECG, and up to 8 hours of recorded ECG function, or shorter duration of audible and ECG data;
- Ventricular fibrillation;
- Ventricular tachycardia;
- Heart rate, and more.
Conclusion: The Different Types of AED Monitors
Thanks to the advancement of medicinal technology, we as bystanders can help save someone’s life in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest. We can save a person’s life by turning to CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to maintain uninterrupted blood flow to the heart and brain in case of a heart attack or drowning. We can also locate a public-access AED to shock a person’s heart that’s stopped breathing and help them in a matter of minutes.
Today, thanks to campaigns by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC), more and more people have become aware of the benefits of using AEDs in the event of SCA. Given the fact that sudden cardiac arrests aren’t a discriminatory occurrence, everyone can fall victim — from children to students to athletes to senior citizens.
Using an AED means getting accurate data on the electrical activity of the heart, its heartbeat, heart rate, and so on. A multifunction monitor of the cardiac state of a person can help make the right decision when and if to shock the heart to restore its normal state. Now you should be more confident in knowing The Different Types of AED Monitors.