Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)

  • AEDs are computerized devices that are now about the size of a laptop computer. They can be used by healthcare providers (such as Emergency Medical Response providers) and by lay rescuers. They are attached to victims who are thought to be in cardiac arrest, and they provide voice and visual prompts to lead rescuers through the steps of operation. AEDs analyze the victims heart rhythm, determine if a defibrillation shock is needed, then prompt the rescuer to clear the victim and deliver a shock.
  • Lay rescuer AED programs (also known as Public Access Defibrillation or PAD programs) train lay rescuers such as security guards, police and firefighters in CPR and use of an AED and equip the rescuers with automated external defibrillators.
  • The first out-of-hospital defibrillation device weighed 110 pounds; today they weigh less than 8 pounds.
  • They are now becoming expected available medical equipment. Four Chambers Safety Specialists see AEDs as the fire extinguisher of the future. We anticipate all businesses and homes will be equipped with an AED in the near future.

Increased survival with CPR and AEDs

  • In cities such as Seattle, Washington, where CPR training is widespread and EMS response and time to defibrillation is short, the survival rate for witnessed VF cardiac arrest is about 30 percent.
  • In cities such as New York City, where few victims receive bystander CPR and time to EMS response and defibrillation is longer, survival from sudden VF cardiac arrest averages 12 percent.
  • Some recent studies have documented the positive effect of lay rescuer AED programs in the community. These programs all ensure adequate training, and a planned response to ensure early recognition of cardiac arrest and EMS call, immediate bystander CPR, early defibrillation and early advanced care. Lay rescuer AED programs consisting of police in Rochester, Minn., security guards in Chicago’s OHare and Midway airports, and security guards in Las Vegas casinos have achieved 74 percent survival for adults with sudden, witnessed, VF cardiac arrest. These programs are thought to be successful because rescuers are trained to respond efficiently and all survivors receive immediate bystander CPR plus defibrillation within 35 minutes.