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Saving Lives with AEDs: What You Need to Know

Saving Lives with AEDs: What You Need to Know

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are portable devices that administer an electric shock during a cardiac arrest. The units analyze the heart’s rhythm and then check to see if a shock is needed to reset an abnormal heartbeat. The devices are designed to be very simple, to the extent that they can be used by virtually anyone — whether or not they have medical training.

AEDs are the unsung heroes of saving lives. In the event of a sudden cardiac arrest, when someone’s life is on the line, these seconds are critical. The device provides voice prompts to help guide users through the process, which makes it possible for bystanders or first responders to react quickly to emergencies.

Benefits of Using AEDs

Cardiac arrests are life-threatening emergencies. They require immediate attention. AEDs can mean the difference between life and death. In a life-threatening situation, these devices can make a significant difference for the victim.

Having access to an AED quickly can bring the victim back to life before emergency professionals have a chance to arrive.

In a scenario like a sudden cardiac arrest, minutes can make a difference. What does aed stand for? An AED can restore a person’s normal heart rhythm in a matter of minutes, increasing their chances of survival. The devices use clear and spoken instructions that take a user through each step of the process.


  • Increased survival rates for cardiac arrest victims
  • Treatment is provided immediately while waiting for emergency medical services


  • Proper training is needed to be effective
  • Availability may be limited in some public places

AEDs in Action: How These Devices Save Lives

A Shock of Electricity: Restoring Heart Rhythm

AEDs play their life-saving role by shocking the heart with electricity, helping to restore the heart’s normal rhythm. When a person goes into sudden cardiac arrest, their heart may begin to exhibit abnormal electrical activity. This causes the heart to start fluttering or beating chaotically. 

AEDs are designed to recognize this chaotic rhythm and give a shock that can stop the chaotic activity. The shock can reset the heart and allow it to resume its usual beating pattern. By getting involved with this much-needed electricity at exactly the right time, AEDs help to raise the odds of survival for someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. These heart-saving devices play a critical role in emergency medical services and are frequently located in many of the public places where immediate access is needed to save lives.

The user-friendly interface of AEDs enables bystanders to quickly and easily begin life-saving treatment of cardiac arrest victims with a few simple actions. The device provides audible voice prompts to guide the user through the process of using an AED.

Role of Bystanders in Using AEDs During Cardiac Arrest

Critical Role

Bystanders play a crucial role in saving the life of someone suffering from sudden cardiac arrest the moment when they deploy an AED for early intervention. Deploying an AED soon after a SCA onset raises victim survival from the national average of 8% to 38%.1

The crucial point in AED use is before emergency services arrive at the scene. Prompt, safe, and effective early action from bystanders, including calling for help and using that AED, is key to saving the life of someone in sudden cardiac arrest.

Importance of Calling Emergency Services

Bystanders need to be sure to call fully-trained and equipped emergency services treatment professionals before using their AED. Doing so will ensure expert medical assistance will arrive as quickly as possible after a victim collapses. They should be underway to provide the best possible post-AED treatment and care.

Steps to Effectively Use an AED to Save a Life

When you use an AED, the first thing you need to do is the most important: power the device on. A voice or visual prompts will instruct you through the process. This step prepares you to effectively assist in saving a life.

Listen to what the AED tells you next. You may be asked to attach electrode pads, making sure they have good contact with the victim’s bare chest so the heart’s rhythm can be analyzed accurately in case a shock is necessary.

Infants and Children

AEDs are safe for use; however, pediatric electrode pads are required. The pediatric electrode pads ensure that the energy level delivered by the defibrillator is right for smaller bodies. If they are prepared with pediatric pads as well as standard adult pads, then they can assist individuals of all ages effectively.


  • No medical training is needed for use in an emergency.
  • Clear voice instructions make them easy to use.


  • Not valuable with every instance of cardiac arrest.
  • Maintenance checks need to be performed regularly.

AED Legislation: What You Need to Know

Public AED Requirements

Several laws in existence in many nations dictate that AEDs be required in particular public locations. An airport, school, or sports facility may be obliged by law to keep them on hand, for example. The purpose of such legislation is ensuring that sudden cardiac arrest victims have quick access to help.

Good Samaritan laws are in effect in many states, too. These laws protect laypeople who are using an AED in an emergency. Good Samaritan laws safeguard bystanders from legal liability when they employ an AED in an attempt help save a life, provided they act in good faith. 

Staying compliant

It’s thus crucial that individuals and organizations understand AED legislation. That way, they can ensure they meet the requirements and help save lives. This can contribute to the creation of safer environments for everyone at a local level in terms of the placement of these machines.

Opportunities for Training

Local Options

You’ll also find valuable resources at local organizations, community centers, and hospitals that provide CPR and AED training. Courses from these organizations are often hands-on and give you practice working with an AED so you become comfortable using this life-saving device.

Online Resources

Today, there are plenty of online resources available to educate people about how to use an AED or operate an AED properly. From the comfort of your home, virtual training will teach you how to use an AED with interactive modules, including AED demonstrations in real-life situations.


Understanding the important role that Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) play in saving individuals who are in cardiac arrest and the necessary steps you need to take to help operate these machines may enable you to save a person you love in your future…or your own life. The biggest step you can take is to be ready to help and to understand how to help. You have just taken this step! Remember, during sudden cardiac arrest, knowing what to do and being prepared to do it correctly can make a difference between life and death for a person you care about.

Prioritize looking for AED training whenever you can and get others to do the same. By advocating, you help others — and subsequently, they are on the road to helping others, too. This trains more people faster, potentially preventing more deaths sooner. It could be the difference in the seconds it takes to save someone else’s life. Be informed. Be prepared. Be the next person who makes a difference in a cardiac emergency.


Published By: Aize Perez

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