Automated External Defibrillation (AED): Truly A Lifesaving Device

Sudden cardiac arrest continues to be the number one cause of death in North America. In more than 80% of the cases, rapid defibrillation would have been beneficial. Furthermore, research shows that the maximum benefit occurs when the defibrillation is provided within 5 minutes of the point of collapse.

Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) is a movement to make Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) readily accessible in locations such as sporting arenas and shopping centers. These AEDs use employ cutting-edge technology that removes the need for extensive training before being used. Such devices if available to the police, firefighters, and the general public can increase the chance that a person will receive the necessary treatment within moments of having an attack.

The automatic external defibrillator is a device that administrators an electrical shock designed to reset the cardiac rhythm to its normal state. This is needed when someone has a heart attack; they are unconscious; there is no circulation; and CPR has already been started. This is effective because when someone has a heart attack the cardiac rhythm does not just stop right away. It will first go through a short phase of fibrillation. That is, there will still be some electrical activity, but it is very disorganized and does not result in blood circulation.

As a rescuer you will not know what the casualty's cardiac rhythm is, this is up to the AED to determine. As a rescuer all you will know is if the casualty has circulation or not. Once attached, the AED will determine if the casualty requires a shock. If yes, then the machine will charge up allowing the trained rescuer to administer the shock. If not, then the machine will not charge up and a shock won't be administered no matter what the rescuer does. At that point the machine will verbally instruct the rescuer as to what to do next.

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