What is an AED and How Does it Work?
You’d be surprised how often we hear “What’s an AED? I know that I know, I just can’t quite come up with it.” Well, we won’t keep you in suspense any longer: an automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable and user-friendly electronic device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart.
AEDs automatically diagnose and respond to life-threatening heart rhythms. The shock delivered by an AED can stop irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) and allow normal heart rhythms to resume after sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If not treated immediately, SCA can quickly lead to death.
Most AEDs provide easy-to-follow audio and visual instructions so that untrained bystanders can quickly offer assistance to an individual suffering from cardiac arrest. Some AEDs advise the user when to administer the shock, while other AEDs may automatically apply a shock if the heart is arrhythmic. Many AEDs also offer step-by-step cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instruction and real-time CPR feedback.
Why Are AEDs Important?
More than 350,000 Americans suffer from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year. Taken a step further, about 90% of the people who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital will die (The American Heart Association).
Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that waiting for emergency medical personnel to arrive results in only a 5-7% survival rate, while studies with immediate defibrillation have shown up to a 60% survival rate one year after a sudden cardiac arrest.
Simply put: AEDs save lives.
On-site AEDs and publicly accessible AEDs save valuable treatment time and can dramatically improve survival odds because they can be used well before emergency medical personnel arrive.
Are AEDs Safe to Use?
AEDs are safe and can be used by anyone. Modern AEDs are battery-operated, compact, light, and portable. Because safeguards are programmed into each unit, you do not have to worry about shocking a victim who has a normal heartbeat.
Who Can Use an AED?
Anyone can use an AED. AEDs have a proven record of helping save lives at home, in the workplace, and in public areas such as airports, community centers, schools, senior centers, cultural institutions, and churches.
Most AEDs are designed to be used by non-medical personnel. Although training isn’t necessary to operate an AED, having more people in your community who are trained to respond to a medical emergency by providing CPR and defibrillation will increase confidence, promote SCA awareness, and bolster cardiac arrest survival rates.
Where should AEDs be Placed?
AEDs should be easy to access and placed in a visible location. Check out our post, Finding the Best Location for Your AED.
What can you do to improve SCA survival rates? Invest in an AED for your home or office, make sure your schools and sporting venues are equipped with AEDs, and make sure that AEDs are available and are easily accessible throughout your community. Ready to take the plunge? Contact Cardio Partners, we’ll help you figure out which AED is right for you.
For more information about purchasing a new or recertified AED or to schedule an AED training or AED maintenance, contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. We also welcome your emails, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DISCLAIMER: Information and resources found on the cardiopartners.com and aed.com websites/blogs are intended to educate, inform, and motivate readers to make their health and wellness decisions after consulting with their healthcare provider. The authors are not healthcare providers. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.