But my understanding is that the only "machine" indicated for restarting a heart that has completely stopped (i.e., "flat-lined") is manual compression. I.e., even if you're a patient in a Level 1 trauma center, if you flat-line then all the machines get pushed aside and one person is going to start pushing on your chest above your heart to try to get it started. (And you might get a does of epinephrine. Oh, and if you're really "lucky" and they have your chest torn open then they'll reach in and compress the heart directly.) Is this accurate?
If so, isn't this weird? Pushing on the heart through the rib cage to get it to spontaneously start seems like trying to rescue someone drowning by standing on the shore and poking them with a stick.
We can electrically stimulate every muscle to contract. I understand that a functional heartbeat requires a coordinated series of contractions. An electrocardiogram can monitor the sequence of contractions in a functional heartbeat. Why can't it (or something like it) pump current back through its electrodes to stimulate a perfect heartbeat?
Or, if one could place arbitrary electrodes directly on a heart, could an electronic device force it to beat – indefinitely – when it has flat-lined? Or is there some reason that is not technically or medically feasible?
Again, it just seems weird that when the heart stops the current best practice is basically to just try "nudging" it to start.