When the heart has stopped pumping blood
around the body (known as a cardiac arrest) there is a period of time
immediately afterwards when it can be restarted again.
If you are able to carry out basic life-support
by doing chest compressions and giving the ‘kiss of life’, you will
help to keep the blood flowing around the patient’s body and
improve the levels of oxygen in their blood.
However, giving an electric shock to the heart
greatly increases the chances of it beating again. This process is
called defibrillation, and the machine used to shock the heart is
called a defibrillator.
Every one of our vehicles—from an ambulance to
a bicycle—carries a defibrillator so that our staff can shock a
patient’s heart when they have a cardiac arrest.