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What you need to know about AEDs

What is an AED? An AED or automated external defibrillator is a device that automatically analyzes heart rhythms and advises the operator to deliver a shock if the heart is in a fatal heart rhythm. AEDs are safe and will not shock anyone who is not in a fatal heart rhythm. Non-medical personnel can use AEDs safely and effectively with minimal training. How does an AED work? A computer inside the... defibrillator analyzes the victim's heart rhythm. The device decides whether a shock is needed. Some devices shock the victim automatically if a shock is needed. Other devices require that the operator press a button to deliver the shock. The shock is delivered through pads stuck to the victim's bare chest. The shock stuns the heart, stopping abnormal heart activity, and allowing a normal heart rhythm to resume. Do I have to have a prescription to acquire an AED? A prescription from a physician is required for purchasing most AED models. However, at least one model has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for use without a prescription and is available over the counter.


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