Defibrillators and AEDs: What You Need to Know About Them

What’s a defibrillator? Defibrillators is a device that delivers a brief electric shock to the heart, which enables the heart’s natural pacemaker to regain control and establish a normal heart rhythm. They can be external or implanted.

Automated External Defibrillator

External defibrillators are used in hospitals and ambulances. Now automated external defibrillators (AED) are being used outside of medical environments as external they become safer and cheaper. You’ve probably seen AEDs. They’ve already become standard equipment in many airports, convention centers and health clubs.

The automated external defibrillators (AEDs), automate the diagnosis of heart rhythms that can be treated. This allows non-medical people to use them successfully with little training (and sometimes no training at all.) There are also more sophisticated manual and semi-automatic defibrillators used by health professionals. These can act as a pacemaker if the heart rate is too slow (bradycardia.)

Implantable or Internal Defibrillators

Implantable or internal defibrillators are another type of device. They are used for preventing sudden death in many patients. Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD) work from inside a patient’s own body. Implantable defibrillators can substantially reduce the rate of sudden death in patients that have life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. 

Most health professionals agree that automated external defibrillators are so easy to use that most, if not all, states in the United States now include the "good faith" use of an AED by any person under the Good Samaritan laws.

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