AED

What is an automated external defibrillator (AED)?

photo courtesy of Cardiac Science

photo courtesy of Cardiac Science

An AED is a device about the size of a laptop computer that analyses the heart’s rhythm for any abnormalities and, if necessary, directs the rescuer to deliver an electrical shock to the victim. This shock, called defibrillation, may help the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm of its own.

How does an AED work?

An AED is easy to operate. It uses voice prompts to instruct the rescuer. Once the machine is turned on, the rescuer will be prompted to apply two electrodes provided with the AED to the victim’s chest. Once applied, the AED will begin to monitor the victim’s heart rhythm. If a “shockable” rhythm is detected, the machine will charge itself and instruct the rescuer to stand clear of the victim and to press the shock button.