What Is The Purpose of an AED?

An AED, or Automated External Defibrillator, is a life-saving medical device designed to assess a person's heart rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electric shock to restore a normal heart rhythm. AEDs are crucial tools in responding to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and other life-threatening heart rhythm disturbances. Here's a closer look at what an AED does and how it operates:

1. Monitors Heart Rhythm:

The primary function of an AED is to monitor the person's heart rhythm through adhesive electrodes or pads that are placed on the chest. The AED constantly analyzes the electrical signals from the heart to determine if a shockable rhythm is present.

2. Detects Shockable Rhythms:

An AED is programmed to recognize specific shockable heart rhythms, primarily ventricular fibrillation (VF) and ventricular tachycardia (VT). These rhythms are life-threatening because they can cause the heart to quiver or beat rapidly and ineffectively, leading to a lack of blood flow to vital organs.

3. Provides Clear Instructions:

One of the key features of an AED is its user-friendly design. When a person collapses or is found unresponsive, the AED is activated. The device provides clear, step-by-step voice prompts and often includes visual instructions on a screen. These prompts guide the user through each critical step of the resuscitation process.

4. Administers a Controlled Shock:

If the AED detects a shockable rhythm, it will instruct the user to stand clear of the person and press a button to deliver a controlled electric shock. The shock is intended to reset the heart's electrical activity, allowing it to return to a normal rhythm.

5. Prompts for CPR:

After the shock is delivered, the AED typically prompts the user to resume cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately. CPR involves a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths to circulate blood and oxygen to vital organs.

6. Continues Monitoring:

Throughout the resuscitation process, the AED continues to monitor the person's heart rhythm. If additional shocks are needed, the device will analyze the rhythm and prompt the user accordingly.

7. Coordinates with Emergency Services:

Many AEDs are equipped with the ability to communicate with emergency services. They can transmit data about the person's condition and the shocks delivered to healthcare providers, ensuring that professional help is on the way.

8. Safety Features:

AEDs are designed with safety in mind. They typically have features that prevent the delivery of unnecessary shocks and monitor the effectiveness of each shock delivered.

In summary, an AED is an automated, external device that assesses and treats life-threatening heart rhythms. Its key functions include monitoring the heart rhythm, detecting shockable rhythms, providing clear instructions, delivering controlled shocks, prompting for CPR, and coordinating with emergency services. AEDs are instrumental in increasing the chances of survival for individuals experiencing sudden cardiac arrest when used in conjunction with timely CPR and access to professional medical care.

 CPR + First Aid Certification

Back to blog