In a prospective survey employing conventional devices that stored 400 joules or less, direct-current shocks that delivered 194 ± 11 joules (1.8 joules/kg) to the chest wall terminated 45 of 46 episodes of ventricular fibrillation in 11 of 12 patients weighing 91 to 225 kg. Patients with coronary disease defibrillated more easily than patients without coronary disease. Weight did not determine outcome. The 98% defibrillation efficiency occurred at only half the energy predicted for 50% efficiency from retrospective data. Human defibrillation not only occurred at one third the untested level recommended by proponents of high-energy defibrillation, but also at one fourth the energy, defibrillating 69% of comparably heavy animals. Thus, the costly defibrillators delivering 400 to 800 joules now sold by 11 of 14 American manufacturers are superfluous, untested, potentially lethal devices with which to attempt ventricular defibrillation.
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