AED or Automated External Defibrillators can save lives when the heart stops beating. However, it does come with its own baggage and deciding whether to get one is a question of properly weighing the pros and cons together.
Ever seen a television show where a patient is brought back to life by a doctor who blasts him with an electric shock and yells clear right before doing so? Such procedures shock the heart back into existence and they aren’t devices limited to hospitals anymore. A new type of device called automated external defibrillators or AEDs now exist that can be kept as a backup at home and best of all, these things don’t need a prescription. But, before you get all cheerful and buy one, understand that it has its limitations and may not suit all.
AED works only with specific conditions. In these specific situations it will resuscitate you. In fact, in some cardiovascular emergencies, CPR is equally effective in saving lives rather than a shock.
When AEDs Help
Your heart is a finely tuned watch that beats to a precise rhythm. Cardiac arrest happens when the electrical signals become all disrupted causing the heart to beat out of rhythm, in a chaotic fast manner. The medical terms that lead up to a heart attack are ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. Since the condition is chaotic, irregular heart rhythm can at any time cause a heart attack.
CPR is essential to saving life but it can only keep blood circulating to the brain and heart for a very short period of time. The only method available to save a person’s life in the event of a cardiac arrest is therefore defibrillation. If you suffer from a condition called ventricular fibrillation, then a AED will save you 100 percent.
According to One Sure Insurance:
“Using an AED is easy too. One only needs to prepare it by connecting the terminals together and then connect it to your heart, check for heart rhythm and if it is treatable by electrical currents, then the AED immediately sends a shock. As first on the scene, you still have to call for emergency services though. And, also do not forget to start CPR first before using AED and then continue with CPR after AED if it is required.”
Such AEDs are available as over-the-counter medical appliances with approval from the FDA. However, they are not deemed safe for children below 8 years of age since you need separate pad cartridges, which for infants and children still need a prescription.
If you get an AED then keep it where you can reach it quickly, or your family members can immediately recover. The good news is that not only do emergency crews carry AEDs and police officers but also many public places like sports arenas, golf courses, schools, airports, airplanes, cruise ships, casinos, offices all store AEDs for emergencies.
The unfortunate issue though is the majority of cardiac arrests happen in private homes. Keeping an AED at home provides rescue workers precious extra minutes that can save your life. Thus, keeping them visible, telling your family members of the location and training them how to use it will save you at least once in your life.