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Als specialized service disposable supplies; defibrillation (to be used only in jurisdictions where defibrillation cannot be performed in bls ambulances)

HCPCS code

Name of the Procedure:

Defibrillation Specialized Service Disposable Supplies

  • Technical Term: Advanced Life Support (ALS) Specialized Service Disposable Supplies for Defibrillation (HCPCS Code A0392)


Defibrillation involves using a device called a defibrillator to send an electric shock to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat. This procedure is used in emergency situations where the heart is experiencing a life-threatening arrhythmia, such as ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia. It is performed by trained healthcare providers and requires specialized disposable supplies.


Medical Conditions Addressed:
  • Cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia.
  • To restore a normal heart rhythm and prevent sudden cardiac death.


Symptoms or Conditions:
  • Sudden collapse
  • No heartbeat detected
  • Loss of consciousness
  • No pulse
Patient Criteria:
  • Individuals in cardiac arrest with specific types of arrhythmias.
  • Cases where defibrillation is necessary and cannot be performed by Basic Life Support (BLS) providers.


Pre-procedure Instructions:
  • As this is an emergency procedure, no prior preparation by the patient is required.
Diagnostic Tests:
  • Rapid assessment of heart rhythm using an ECG monitor.

Procedure Description

  1. Assessment: Verify unconsciousness and lack of pulse.
  2. Activate ALS Protocol: Call for Advanced Life Support if not already on scene.
  3. Attach Defibrillator Pads: Apply disposable defibrillator pads to the patient's chest.
  4. Analyze Heart Rhythm: The defibrillator will analyze and identify if the heart rhythm is shockable.
  5. Deliver Shock: If indicated, deliver an electric shock through the defibrillator.
  6. Post-Shock Monitoring: Continue to monitor and provide follow-up shocks if necessary according to ALS protocols.
Tools and Equipment:
  • Automated or manual defibrillator
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor
  • Disposable defibrillator pads
Anesthesia or Sedation:
  • Not applicable, as patient is usually unconscious.


  • The procedure typically takes a few minutes but may be repeated as needed during resuscitation efforts.


  • Emergency settings such as ambulances, hospitals, or wherever an ALS unit operates.


  • Paramedics or other trained ALS providers.

Risks and Complications

Common Risks:
  • Minor skin burns at pad sites.
  • Muscle soreness from chest compressions if CPR is performed in conjunction.
Rare Risks:
  • Rib fractures from associated CPR.
  • Electric burns if pads are improperly applied.
Complication Management:
  • Follow-up medical evaluation and treatment in hospital.


  • Immediate restoration of a normal heart rhythm.
  • Increased survival chances from sudden cardiac arrest.


Post-procedure Care:
  • Continuous monitoring in a hospital ICU.
  • Follow-up cardiac care and potential rehabilitation.
Recovery Time:
  • Varies depending on individual response and underlying health conditions.
Restrictions and Follow-up:
  • Activity limitations will be advised based on recovery progress.
  • Regular follow-up appointments with a cardiologist.


Other Treatment Options:
  • CPR alone if defibrillation is not available.
  • Administration of cardiac arrest medications (e.g., epinephrine).
Pros and Cons:
  • CPR can sustain circulation but is less effective in restoring normal rhythm compared to defibrillation.
  • Medications can support, but usually are not definitive treatments without defibrillation.

Patient Experience

During the Procedure:
  • Patient is unconscious and will not feel the procedure.
After the Procedure:
  • Possible soreness and minor burns at the pad sites.
  • Emotional and physical fatigue as recovery progresses.
Pain Management:
  • Pain relief medications as needed.
  • Supportive care and comfort measures in the hospital setting.

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