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Bls specialized service disposable supplies; defibrillation (used by als ambulances and bls ambulances in jurisdictions where defibrillation is permitted in bls ambulances)

HCPCS code

Name of the Procedure:

Common Name(s): Disposable Supplies for Defibrillation in BLS and ALS Ambulances Technical Term: Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) Code A0384


This procedure involves the use of specialized disposable supplies necessary for defibrillation during emergency medical services. These supplies are used by both Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances, particularly in areas where BLS ambulances are permitted to perform defibrillation.


The primary purpose of this procedure is to provide life-saving intervention in cases of cardiac arrest. The defibrillation supplies are used to deliver a controlled electric shock to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat.

  • Medical Conditions: Cardiac arrest, certain types of arrhythmias.
  • Goals/Outcomes: Restore normal heart rhythm, increase chances of survival until further medical treatment can be provided.


  • Symptoms: Sudden collapse, absence of pulse, unresponsiveness, irregular or abnormal heartbeats.
  • Conditions: Ventricular fibrillation, pulseless ventricular tachycardia, and other life-threatening cardiac rhythms.


  • Pre-procedure Instructions: There are typically no specific preparation requirements for the patient, as this is an emergency procedure.
  • Diagnostic Tests: Quick assessment using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) or manual defibrillator to determine the necessity of shock.

Procedure Description

  1. Assessment: Paramedics assess the patient to confirm cardiac arrest.
  2. AED Application: Attach AED pads to the patient’s bare chest.
  3. Rhythm Analysis: The AED or manual defibrillator analyzes the heart’s rhythm.
  4. Shock Delivery: If a shockable rhythm is detected, the device instructs or automatically delivers the shock.
  5. Repeat: Continue to follow AED prompts or manual reassessment as needed.
  • Tools/Equipment: AED, defibrillator pads, and other disposable supplies.
  • Anesthesia or Sedation: Not applicable.


The procedure itself takes only a few minutes but repeats as necessary until either a normal heart rhythm is restored or further intervention is required.


Performed in the field by EMS personnel, typically in an ambulance or at the scene of the emergency.


  • Healthcare Professionals: Paramedics, EMTs, possibly assisted by other first responders.

Risks and Complications

  • Common Risks: Skin irritation or burns from the pads, minor muscle soreness from the shock.
  • Rare Risks: Injury due to incorrect use or failure of the device; underlying conditions exacerbated by the shock.


  • Expected Benefits: Immediate chance to restore normal heart function, increased survival rate.
  • Realization Time: Immediate if successful.


  • Post-Procedure Care: Transport to nearest hospital for further evaluation and treatment.
  • Recovery Time: Varies based on individual condition; monitoring and follow-up are critical.
  • Restrictions/Follow-Up: Continuous monitoring and possibly cardiac rehabilitation post-recovery.


  • Other Treatment Options: Manual CPR only, use of manual defibrillators by more advanced medical personnel.
  • Pros/Cons: AEDs are quicker and require less training; manual defibrillation can be more precise but needs skilled personnel.

Patient Experience

  • During the Procedure: Generally unconscious and unaware due to the nature of the condition (cardiac arrest).
  • After the Procedure: May experience disorientation, soreness; managed with pain relief and supportive care as needed.

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