What Should I Do If My Defibrillator Fires And Wakes Me From Sleep?

Dr. Jeremy Ruskin answers the question: 'Awoken By My Defibrillator Firing?'

— -- Question: What should I do if my defibrillator fires and wakes me from sleep?

Answer :Defibrillator shocks during sleep are relatively rare. There are some events known as phantom shocks in which people sometimes awaken from sleep thinking they've received a shock when they haven't. And again the advice would be the same, that is, if a shock occurs during sleep and you're feeling ok and there are no repetitive shocks, it's probably ok to go back to sleep but to let your physician know in the morning that the device went of and to have the device interrogated.

Obviously, if there are repetitive shocks, the critical thing to do is to get help immediately, typically by calling 911 and being taken to the closest emergency department.