||The English used in this article may not be easy for everybody to understand. (November 2011)
Defibrillation is the act of defibrillating the heart to try treat ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia. Defibrillation works by delivering a controlled electric current to the heart, which depolarises a critical mass of the heart muscle, which stops the arrhythmia and allows a coordinated heart rhythm to return. Defibrillation may be administered outside the body with the use of an external defibrillator or an automated external defibrillator, or inside the body with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.
The first use of the technique on a human was in 1947 by Claude Beck, a professor of surgery at Case Western Reserve University. The patient was a 14 year old boy named Mickey.
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