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What additional training do nurses need to carry out defibrillation?

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Key points

  • Most out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are caused by ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia. Electrical defibrillation is the only effective therapy for these.
  • Prompt defibrillation can achieve survival rates as high as 75%. The chances of success decline by around 10% with each minute of delay.
  • Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are sophisticated, computerised devices that deliver defibrillatory shocks to a person in cardiopulmonary arrest.
  • Before starting defibrillation, the patient’s chest should be exposed to allow correct placement of AED pads, and the chest should be dried if it is clammy or wet.
  • All healthcare staff should be trained, equipped, and encouraged to perform defibrillation. AEDs should be easily accessible and not locked away.

Let’s discuss

  • What additional training do nurses need to carry our defibrillation?

You might like to consider:

  • Does your current CPR training cover defibrillation and is this annual update adequate to ensure you are competent to carry it out?
  • How can you identify ventricular fibrillation (VF) or pulseless ventricular tachycardia
    (VT)?
  • Outline the procedure and safety precautions for defibrilliation.

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