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AED (Automated External Defibrillator)

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AEDs, or automatic external defibrillators, are used to assist individuals who have experienced a sudden cardiac arrest. It's an advanced, but simple to use medical device that analyzes the heart's rhythm and, if necessary, administers an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an efficient rhythm.


Can I buy an AED for home?

  • Yes, I have done some initial research and found the below top products, if you don't see the widget please click here.
  • Before you purchase any medical device you should check to see if it requires FDA approval. AED's are regulated by the FDA, check this link for a table of FDA approved devices.



How does an automated external defibrillator work?


Biphasic, monophasic, and automatic external defibrillators are examples of defibrillators (AEDs). They can also be pacemakers with or without automatic internal defibrillators (AICD). Cardioversion can also be performed using a defibrillator.


Ventricular fibrillation (VF) and ventricular tachycardia (VT) cab be shocked back into a regular rhythm. There are two types of irregular heart patterns or arrhythmia that, if not stopped quickly, can be fatal. A burst of electricity delivered soon after the heartbeat begins will interrupt the rhythm and allow the heart to return to its regular, safe rhythm.


External Defibrillators

External defibrillators are the paddle-like devices shown on medical shows being slapped on people's chests (usually incorrectly and without saline pads or gel, and with a single shock or two.


Monophasic versus biphasic defibrillators

You must first determine which you have and then adjust the Joules accordingly, which are a unit of measurement for the volume of electricity delivered. 

Multiple shocks reduce transthoracic impedance (the body's resistance to electricity) and lead to more powerful shocks. The goal is to bring as much electricity as possible to the ventricles, which are the source of the two most dangerous rhythms.


Implantable Defibrillators

When anyone has a recurring issue with VT/VF or other issues that include shocks or defibrillation, these types of devices are used. Patients have described it as feeling like they've been kicked in the chest.

Please note that if your AICD (automatic internal defibrillators) is working, it has been suggested to not use an AED. As always please consult your physician for specific actual medical advice.



Other Medical Definitions