What does AED stand for?
AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. It is a safe and easy-to-use device that delivers a therapeutic electric shock to the heart as a treatment for a victim of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). AEDs are mobile and often found on the walls of public venues and corporations across America, much like fire extinguishers.
Why is an AED needed?
During SCA, the heart stops suddenly. In 90 percent of cases, the heart goes into a fatal rhythm known as ventricular fibrillation. In ventricular defibrillation, the heart does not adequately pump blood to the vital organs. The only treatment to correct ventricular fibrillation is to restore the heart’s natural rhythm by applying an electric shock to the heart. AEDs provide the public with a solution to defibrillate or shock the heart into rhythm. They can be used on a victim of any age, by people with no medical training. AED training is becoming more common in CPR & First Aid certification classes, CPR renewal classes, and CPR instructor courses.
When to Use a Defibrillator
You should only use an AED on a person if their heart suddenly stops beating or if they are experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).
How do you know when someone is experiencing a Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
SCA symptoms are immediate and drastic and include:
- No breathing or gasping noises paired with abnormal breathing
- No pulse
Where to Find AEDs in Case of Emergency
Quick access to an AED in an emergency situation, can make the difference in a life or death situation. You can find AEDs in many public places, including offices, schools, shopping malls, grocery stores, and airports.
Many times, however, an AED isn’t readily available. In these situations, hands-only CPR or high-quality CPR can buy time until paramedics arrive. Emergency first-responders are typically equipped with and trained to use AEDs.
PulsePoint is a foundation that is working to create a mobile app designed to match nearby “citizen responders” to emergency situations. Citizen responders are individuals trained in CPR and AED use who often carry a portable AED with them. If they are in a vicinity of a victim, they are alerted and can respond in many cases sooner than paramedics. This is a relatively new initiative that is gaining traction across the country. PulsePoint teams with local organizations such as fire stations and public safety agencies to build a free digital AED registry for their community.
If you encounter someone with these symptoms, call 911, immediately begin CPR and locate the nearest AED.