An AED may save your life during cardiac arrest. So, should you purchase or rent one for your home?
What is an AED?
An automated external defibrillator, which is also known as an AED, is a device that helps increase the survival rate of patients who suddenly suffer cardiac arrest. It restores normal heart rhythm by delivering a shock to the heart. Cardiac arrest is a condition where the heart erratically quivers and stops beating.
It is estimated that 350,000 people go into cardiac arrest every year. This condition can affect anyone of any age and at any place and time. So, AEDs are portable devices and are not just used by firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, and hospital settings but also in homes and public places.
When is an AED needed?
AEDs and CPR are the best chances for survival when someone experiences cardiac arrest. Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a life-threatening emergency that occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. It strikes people of all ages who may seem to be healthy, even children and teens. When SCA happens, the person collapses and doesn’t respond or breathe normally. They may gasp or shake as if having a seizure. Survival depends on people nearby calling 911, starting CPR, and using an AED (if available) as soon as possible.
Time is of the essence when a person goes into cardiac arrest. It typically takes first responders eight to 12 minutes to arrive on the scene after 911 is called. However, a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest drops by 10 percent for every minute that defibrillation is delayed. The person’s chance of surviving sudden cardiac arrest is greatest when a defibrillator is used within five minutes of collapse.
An automated external defibrillator is very simple to operate, and it can even be used by someone who does not have a medical background. Every device is different, but they all work in a very similar way. All one has to do is follow the voice commands that the device gives. It has electrodes that analyze the person’s heart rhythm. If it determines that a shock is necessary, then it will advise the person to push the shock button. It will also advise a person to begin CPR.
Because an automated external defibrillator gives voice commands, it can even be used by people who have yet to receive the proper CPR/AED training. However, people are strongly advised to take a course before they use this device. More organizations are opting to provide CPR and AED training to their employees.
Should You Have an AED for Your Home?
For individuals with a high risk of cardiac arrest, having an AED in the home can provide peace of mind and might even help save their lives. When deciding whether you need an AED in your home, here are some things to consider:
- Is anyone in your home considered a high risk of sudden cardiac arrest due to specific health issues?
- Do you live alone? You need someone with you to use the AED if you have a cardiac arrest.
- Is an AED affordable? Although many AEDS have become more affordable, some AEDS can be expensive. Plus, there is a cost associated with proper AED maintenance.
Benefits of Having an AED in the Home
Having an accessible AED can mean the difference between life and death during a cardiac arrest.
Here are some additional benefits of having an automated external defibrillator in homes and workplaces. Many cardiologists will also advise people likely to suffer from SCA always to carry an AED in their vehicles.
- An automated external defibrillator increases the chance of saving the life of an SCA victim by 75%.
- In case the SCA victim is not close to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) or if EMS takes a long time to respond, an untrained person may intervene by simply following audio commands from an automated external defibrillator.
- The device offers a fully-automated life-saving emergency therapy quickly and is operable by almost anyone.
- The machines are very portable and automatically analyze the heart for shock rhythms.
- The AED has an inbuilt communication that informs rescuers on the life-saving steps to follow. The rescuer will easily know when the SCA victim needs a shock.