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Defibrillation is the medical process to counter the onset of ventricular fibrillation. The equipment used in this process is called a defibrillator, or, in emergency medicine, an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

Defibrillation involves applying a controlled electrical shock to the heart, simultaneously depolarizing its electrical conduction system, which can permit the heart's electrical rhythm to return to normal. Although the process can be repeated, the number of attempts is, in practice, limited, to a series of three or four attempts at increasing voltages, as the likelihood of restoring normal heart rhythm is much less in successive attempts.

Defibrillation can cause electrial burns.

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See also CPR advanced cardiac life support Cardioversion

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