What Are AEDs And How Do They Work?

A sudden cardiac arrest, SCA, can kill a patient within minutes if not treated. With the help of automated external defibrillators, AEDs, a patient has a chance to receive treatment right away. An AED is a portable, lightweight machine that shocks the heart into creating normal rhythmic patterns and allows proper functioning inside the chest cavity.

Most people suffering from SCA as a result of a ventricular fibrillation. This condition means that the heart beats abnormally and gets out of synchronization between the upper and lower heart chest chambers. The ventricles, or chambers of the heart, must be defibrillator to restore proper rhythm. For every minute the heart suffers from ventricular fibrillation, v-fib, the survival rate drops by 7% to 10%.

With each beat of the heart, the electrical pulses send blood through the upper and lower chambers and out to the rest of the body and pumps blood back to the heart. Arrhythmia means that the heart does not pulse according to a properly function rhythm getting blood to all parts of the body at the right time. They can either pump too slowly or too rapidly and cause a shut down of the system altogether.

An AED shocks the system into performing according to a normal beat. By placing the machine’s electrodes appropriately, a voice on the machine tells the rescuer whether or not a defibrillator is required. When used correctly, the AED is effective 90% of the times that it is used in emergency situations by professionals trained in the procedure and the machinery. All emergency personnel should carry this equipment in their vehicles as well as being placed in all public locations where large crowds can gather.

Anyone in the health care field should learn the basic life saving procedures that are associated with operating an AED or performing CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is also advisable that those working with large groups of people know how to operate emergency life saving devices. Within minutes a life can be saved or lost. While proper training is advisable for optimal performance of the equipment, an AED can be manipulated without training in an emergency situation.

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