Thursday, May 05, 2005

Is It Defibrillating Now?

A chicken in every pot, two cars in every garage, a defibrillator in the bathroom. Say what! That's what Philips Medical Systems would like to see with their new HeartStart Home defibrillator. A normal heart has a regular, rhythmic electrical pattern that coincides with the heartbeat. Under certain circumstances, the electrical pattern becomes completely disorganized. Without the electrical triggers, the heart can't beat properly. A defibrillator shocks the heart into a brief pause, and in some cases when the electrical activity resumes, it does so in a relatively normal mode rather than the previous chaos. The problem with having one of these units at home is that, A) you can't detect fibrillation without a heart monitor; B) it takes training to interpret an EKG; and C) defibrillation can be the least important part of keeping a victim alive. CPR and good artificial respiration are much more important in a home setting. Or buy more extension phones for calling 911. But, if you have $2K to blow on a new toy.... OK. End of rant.


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