An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart.
The shock can potentially stop an irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. If not treated within minutes, it quickly leads to death.
Most SCAs result from ventricular fibrillation (VF). VF is a rapid and unsynchronized heart rhythm that originates in the heart’s lower chambers (the ventricles). The heart must be “defibrillated” quickly, because a victim’s chance of surviving drops by seven to 10 percent for every minute a normal heartbeat isn’t restored.
No one should be afraid to use an AED to save a life. You cannot hurt someone who has experienced a sudden cardiac arrest with an AED—they are already clinically dead, and the use of an AED can only help. AEDs are designed to only administer shocks when needed.
Source: American Heart Association
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