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Defibrillator, London, England, 1970-1980

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Designed during the 1950s, modern defibrillators are used to give an electric shock to the chest of a person who has a ventricular defibrillation – this is where the muscles and the electrical signals of ventricles in the heart become chaotic, causing the heart to stop beating effectively. This example, made by Cardiac Recorders Ltd, has a rechargeable power pack so it could be easily transported around hospitals to where it was needed. The defibrillator was donated by St Thomas’ Hospital.

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Glossary: defibrillator

A device that delivers a measured electric shock to the heart. Designed to prevent the irregular seizing of muscles in the heart (fibrillation). If the defibrillator is successful, the normal rhythm of the heart resumes.