what is an aed

What is an AED and How Does It Work?

Thanks to AEDs becoming more common, it’s likely that you’ve seen one in your daily life—in various public buildings like your office, shopping centers, and public transportation hubs. Still, you are likely wondering: what is an AED?

An automated external defibrillator, or AED, is used to help someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. While some types of AED require professional use, others allow bystanders to use them easily.

In the end, there are many considerations when using an AED to reflect on—even if you never plan to use one. Since you can’t predict when you may use one, knowing more about an AED can help you save a life.

To help you feel prepared for any health situation, we’ve compiled some common questions and answers about AEDs below.

What is an AED? Common FAQs about AEDs

What Types of Defibrillators are Available?

Unsurprisingly, an AED is only one type of defibrillator. There are several types of lifesaving devices, including internal and external use defibrillators.

After the AED, manual defibrillators are the next common device. As the name suggests, the manual defibrillator requires human manipulation to operate. Because of the extensive training needed to operate a manual device, they are not often used by the general public. The manual defibrillator is primarily used by medical care professionals like EMTs.

Other types of defibrillators include implantable and wearable cardioverter-defibrillators. Implantable defibrillators, also known as pacemakers, are surgically placed by doctors to counteract known, ongoing heart irregularities. Wearable defibrillators are non-invasive devices that worn for an extended period of time to track a wearer’s heart rhythm. Additionally, the device sends a record of the heart’s activity to the wearer’s doctor.

All in all, AEDs and MDs are used for bystander intervention. In contrast, ICDs and WCDs are used to treat known and ongoing heart problems.

When Do I Use an AED?

Knowing when to use an AED, especially in an emergency, is important. Thus, having a better understanding of what specific situation calls for an AED can help.

As we said before, an AED is usually used when someone is experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. During sudden cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating normally. Additionally, the person experiencing this may collapse, experience seizure-like symptoms, and gasp for breath.

These are just a few symptoms; however, knowing them can inform you went to act—using an AED, performing first aid, or calling 911—and prevent a fatality.

Do AEDs Work the Same for Everyone?

There are special factors to take into account when using an AED. The preparation and application of an AED may vary from person to person; nonetheless, the electric shock should regulate heart activity despite outside factors.

The following are a few common considerations when using an AED:

Excessive chest hair where the AED pads are placed can disrupt the effectiveness of the shock. Some AED kits include a razor to remove chest hair in these situations.

Other factors include sweat or medication patches. If a person is covered in sweat, gently dry off the chest before using an AED.

As for medication patches, it is important to remove any that get in the way of the AED pads.

Want to learn more about AEDs so you can buy the right one for you?

Foremost Medical Equipment offers many educational resources on the numerous types of AEDs that it sells. In the end, you can rest assured that your AED purchase is an educated one.