Written by Norene Anderson
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Automated external defibrillators (AED) are rapidly becoming the first response for heart attack victims. The training required for proper execution of the device is as common as training for CPR. Most places offering CPR certification also offer AED training. There is software available to teach the use of the automated external defibrillator. Adequate training is required before a prescription to purchase an AED is given.

The AED is designed to identify potentially fatal heart rhythms in the process of cardiac arrest. If an individual is experiencing ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, an electrical shock will be delivered to attempt to correct the abnormality. It is easy to follow the visual and verbal prompting of the AED to treat the incident immediately. It is necessary to use cardiopulmonary resuscitation in conjunction with the defibrillator.

Saving Lives with an AED

The longer a person goes without treatment after experiencing cardiac arrest, the less effective the automated external defibrillator will be. It is most effective when used immediately. Every second the brain is without a fresh blood supply, the more likely the patient is to suffer a stroke or irreparable brain damage. CPR must be continued until the heart resumes beating and breathing without assistance transpires.

The AED is safe for use by anyone who is properly trained. The defibrillators have an energy output of 150J to 360J. Some are lightweight and portable at only 3.5 pounds. Other designs can weigh as much as 6.6 pounds. The automated external defibrillator can detect by the type of lead used whether the victim is an adult or pediatric patient. The systems are programmed to respond to the type of patient identified.

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