How do AEDs Work and Who Can Use Them?

How do AEDs Work and Who Can Use Them? on

Learn about this life-saving device and how it can save a life during sudden cardiac arrest


That’s how many people on average suffer from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) every year in America. And while that statistic is troubling, even worse is the survival rate when this occurs outside of a hospital: 12 percent.

The good news is that when bystanders help someone going into cardiac arrest, that survival rate can be significantly higher. CPR is of course important in many situations, but easy access to an AED is critical when dealing with SCA.

What is an AED?

AED is short for automated external defibrillator. These are computerized devices that can quickly analyze the rhythms of the heart using electrodes. When a dangerous arrhythmia is detected, the AED delivers an electric current to the heart. This allows the heartbeat to be reset and return to a normal pattern.

When should an AED be used?

When someone collapses and is unresponsive, CPR should first be used, says the American Heart Association (AHS). If more than one person is present, someone should continue doing CPR while an AED is located. At that point, the AED can be utilized.

How difficult is an AED to use?

It may seem complicated, but an AED is designed to be extremely user-friendly. Once the electrodes are placed on the victim’s chest, the machine pretty much does the rest. Dr. Clifton Callaway, chair of the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee of the AHS, compares it to a fire extinguisher.

“You shouldn’t really require advanced training or a class to know how to use a fire extinguisher,” Callaway says. “You should pull it off the wall and follow steps one, two and three.”

Who can use an AED?

When someone needs help in a movie or TV show, what often someone loudly asks if a doctor is available. In real life, if people wait for a medical professional before they do anything about a sudden cardiac arrest, that person is probably going to die. According to the Red Cross, the average response time for first responders is about 10 minutes. And for each minute that goes by without defibrillation, the rate of survival drops ten percent.

Almost anyone can use an AED, and you don’t really need to have any prior experience. A study even found that sixth graders can effectively use them without any training. This is why if someone is in distress, people shouldn’t hesitate to find and use an AED.

An AED class can help you prepare for an emergency

While training isn’t required to use an AED, it can be extremely useful. At One Beat CPR, our CPR classes include AED instruction. This will allow you to get familiar with the machine and see exactly how it works. Emergency situations can be scary, and a hands-on lesson offers excellent preparation.

If your business is planning to bring in an AED, we can help you figure out the right model and best location to place it. We can also supply your entire staff with onsite training. To get more information or to schedule a class, call us at 954-321-5305 or send us a message through our online contact form.

Sugar: Sweet on the Tongue but Poison for Your Heart?

Sugar: Sweet on the Tongue but Poison for Your Heart? on

Find out what all those snacks are doing to your ticker

Right now, we are entering over-eating season. Chances are you can put away quite a bit of food at Thanksgiving. Soon there will be holiday parties and dinners, not to mention all the delectable treats you will probably receive as gifts. It’s no wonder that once the New Year hits so many people resolve to lose weight.

And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing a little indulging, you may want to go easy on the sweet treats. Though it can be a nice add-on to a number of foods, excess sugar is actually pretty bad for us in a number of ways, and not just for our teeth and skin.

More sugar = more likely to go to an early grave

It is recommended that we get less than 10 percent of our calories from sugar, and a 15-year study highlights why exactly. It was discovered that participants who consumed 25 percent or more of their calories from sugar were twice as likely to die from heart disease, compared to those under the 10 percent threshold. This was true regardless of age, sex, or body-mass index.

Worse than saturated fats

When discussing things that lead to heart problems – like clogged arteries – saturated fats are usually cited as the main culprits. However, according to another study, excessive sugar consumption plays a bigger role in heart disease. Results showed that even after a few weeks of eating a diet high in sugar, a person will experience higher cholesterol levels, abnormal glucose tolerance, and insulin resistance.

What does sugar actually do to the body?

Sugar belly

What sounds like a fun little candy is actually a potentially deadly health issue. Extra weight around your middle could be a sign of metabolic syndrome. In addition to a big stomach, symptoms can include high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels, both of which can increase the risk of heart disease.

Overactive pancreas

Fructose is particularly harmful to the body. And when too much of it is consumed, the pancreas starts producing insulin to regulate blood sugar. This can lead to insulin resistance, which can cause Type 2 Diabetes and has been linked to heart disease.


You can’t discuss the negative affects of sugar without mentioning diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, diabetic adults are two to four times more likely to die as the result of heart disease compared to adults without diabetes. This is because diabetes can easily lead to high blood pressure, obesity, and abnormal cholesterol.

Hopefully this information is helpful, especially the next time you think about grabbing a soda or reaching for a third cookie. On the positive side, even if you’re somewhat of a sugar junkie, there’s no reason you can’t start improving your diet immediately. And if you work or live with people who may not have the healthiest heart habits, you might want to think about learning life-saving measures like CPR. You can see all of our classes here.

Is Mouth-to-Mouth Breathing Required in CPR?

Is Mouth-to-Mouth Breathing Required in CPR? on

Why “hands-only” CPR is gaining popularity Why “hands-only” CPR is gaining popularity

If you were at home or out at a restaurant, and someone collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest, would you know what to do? According to American Heart Association statistics, “70 percent of Americans may feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they either do not know how to administer CPR or their training has significantly lapsed.”

In case you don’t know, cardiac arrest occurs when the “heart’s electrical system malfunctions,” causing irregular heartbeat rhythms. It is different from a heart attack, which is caused by a blockage or narrowing of an artery to the heart, although a heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest.

Why knowing CPR is so important … for everyone

For decades, medical professionals and organizations like the American Heart Association have taught the benefits of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), a technique that uses a combination of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing that has been shown to save lives. CPR can be especially critical in the case of cardiac events that happen at home or anywhere outside of a hospital, keeping the person alive until an ambulance arrives.

Look at these stats from the American Heart Association:

  • Nearly 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually
  • Four out of five cardiac arrests (88%) happen at home
  • Less than 8% of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive
  • Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival

A new type of CPR

In the last several years, a new type of CPR has emerged, which focuses on “hands-only” compressions, with no “mouth-to-mouth” resuscitation (rescue breaths). “Hands-only” is now gaining popularity, with even the American Heart Association touting the potential benefits. The aim of the initiative is to teach the public that untrained rescuers (bystanders) can still perform CPR, emphasizing that people should first call 911 and then provide chest compressions.

The theory is that most bystanders who see a person go into cardiac arrest aren’t trained in how to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or may even be reluctant to put their mouths directly onto a stranger’s. Chest-only compressions can give a bystander enough confidence to start giving CPR right away, which can make a difference in saving lives.

Hands-only CPR can work in certain circumstances because when a person first goes into cardiac arrest, his or her body still has plenty of oxygen. Chest compressions work by keeping the oxygen circulating, thus helping to minimize possible brain damage.

How to perform hands-only CPR

According to the American Heart Association “If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 911 and then push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of any tune that is 100 to 120 beats per minute.”

Note: A recommended song with the right “beat” is Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees. 

You can watch several PSA instructional videos on “hands only” CPR here

When hands-only CPR should NOT be applied

While chest compressions alone can help save lives, this method should only be used on adults or teens experiencing a specific type of cardiac arrest.

Hands-only CPR is NOT recommended for…

Child and infant CPR Pediatric cardiac arrest is generally related to respiratory failure, where the infant or child stops breathing for some reason. By the time  cardiac arrest occurs, the oxygen levels are likely already depleted. CPR with rescue breaths becomes critical in these cases.

Respiratory failure leading to cardiac arrest – This is more likely to occur in cases of drowning, overdose, choking, trauma, or sudden illness, like a severe allergic reaction or asthma that restricts the airways. Here, oxygen levels can become depleted before the heart stops, so rescue breaths are necessary.

A cardiac arrest you don’t witness – If you didn’t see the person collapse, it is impossible to tell how long he or she may have been lying there. It’s more likely oxygen has become depleted so rescue breaths would be necessary.

Now that you know the importance of CPR, and a method of performing “hand-only” compressions if you witness a cardiac arrest, you can be better prepared to help save a life. For more information on individual, group, or company CPR training, contact us today.

AEDs and Assisted or In-Home Care

AEDs and Assisted or In-Home Care on

Essential facts you should know about AEDs and the elderly

A 1994 study titled “The Pre-Hospital Arrest Survival Evaluation” revealed a frightening reality: Of 2,329 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, only 26 patients survived. Twenty-one years later, in 2015, the American Heart Association (AHA) asserted that over 326,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospitals every year – a majority while the victims were in their home.

Fortunately, modern medicine has a lifesaving answer to this stubbornly persistent threat: The automated electronic defibrillator (AED). In 2002, the FDA approved the first home AED unit, the Philips HeartStart, and two years later the prescription requirement was dropped.

The American Red Cross states that, “improved training and access to AEDs could save 50,000 lives each year.” Because AEDs extend similar advantages to the elderly as they do younger patients, more and more homeowners and assisted care residents are considering purchasing a unit.

3 details all senior citizens should know about AEDs

Help’s required. The “automated” aspect of AEDs refers to the machine’s ability to calibrate the electrical output based on the heart’s fibrillation, a spasm caused by uncoordinated muscle fibers. Victims of sudden cardiac arrest won’t be able to administer AED treatment on themselves. While laws vary from state to state, American Heart Association approved AED and CPR training is highly recommended. Because of this, the capabilities of a person’s living partner or caregiver need to be identified before purchasing an AED, especially in the home.

The medical world believes in AEDs. A report published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggested that, “the most optimistic view is that 84% of public access defibrillation cardiac arrest victims … were found in VF (ventricular fibrillation/cardiac arrest), 29% of those aged 70 and older and in VF have been shown to survive to discharge.” While those stats may seem discouraging to those outside of medicine, cardiologists see this as a huge improvement, especially since only 10% of all individuals who suffer sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting typically survive. The report goes on to state, “To the extent that cardiac resuscitation is offered to any patient, it should at least be considered for the average geriatric patient.”

DNRs need to be identified. The same Journal of Geriatrics Society paper advised that, “the geriatric
population is likely to contain a good number of individuals who have no interest in resuscitation.” While most assisted living residents will have already reported their do not resuscitate (DNR) status upon move-in, the introduction of AEDs to such residencies can lead to concerns about those wishes being identified before an AED is administered.

Educate yourself

AED and CPR training can be an excellent way of learning if and how purchasing an in-home AED is the right decision for you or your loved ones, and give you the confidence to use it in an emergency situation.

If you’re considering purchasing an AED unit for your home or facility, we encourage you to connect with One Beat CPR + AED, Florida’s premiere AHA and American Safety Health Institute (ASHI) CPR training center and AED distributor. Our certified experts can help identify the best training program and AED for you, your family, or your employees. Contact us today.