If you think that a defibrillator is something only doctors should use, think again! Anyone can learn how to use a defibrillator to save a life and requires no medical expertise.
What is an AED or a defibrillator?
An Automated External Defibrillator is a small electronic device programmed to allow a rescuer to provide an electric shock to a non-beating heart, saving a life through defibrillation. Its simplicity does not imply a lack of professionalism in its mode of operation. In fact, an AED guarantees a defibrillation equally as sophisticated as the one provided by medical professionals.
Semi-Automatic or Fully Automatic?
An AED has two different operating modes: semi automatic and fully automatic. The basic difference is the process leading to the shock delivery. The semi-automatic analyzes the heart rhythm and if it detects the need for a shock, it will ask you to stand clear of the victim and press the shock button. The fully automatic defibrillators only have an on/off button, meaning that if a shock is needed it will automatically deliver it, without the need for the rescuer to press another button.
How does it work?
Every AED features vocal and/or text prompts to guide you through the whole rescue process, from the CPR to the defibrillation. Once you’ve attached the electrodes to the victim’s chest, the AED automatically analyzes the electrical activity of the heart and determines if a shock is needed or not. If the victim needs defibrillation, the AED will tell you either to push the shock button, if it’s a semi-automatic external defibrillator. In the case of a fully automatic external defibrillator, it will automatically deliver the shock, but not before it has asked you to step back and stand clear of the victim.
Easy and safe
As you can see, an AED is relatively easy to use. Not every life can be saved with defibrillation but the Automated External Defibrillator is the most effective tool we have in order to stop Sudden Cardiac Arrest from being a leading cause of the death in the US. Check this 8-steps article to find out how you can use an AED!