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A defibrillator is a small devices that is placed in the chest to help treat irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias. The defibrillator uses electrical pulses, or shocks, to help control life-threatening heart conditions, that may cause sudden cardiac arrest, or when the heart suddenly stops beating.

The defibrillator monitors the heart’s rhythm and if it detected an irregular rhythm, it will use low-energy electrical pulses to restore a normal rhythm.  In cases where the low-energy pulses don’t restore a normal rhythm, or in sudden cardiac arrest, the defibrillator will send a high-energy electric shock to the heart to return to normal rhythm. 

The defibrillator may be recommended for people have ventricular tachycardia, survived cardiac arrest or have a ventricular arrhythmia.  They may also help people with a history of coronary artery disease and heart attack, enlarged or thickened heart muscle or a genetic heart defect.