Click on any of the questions below to expose the answer.
CPR stands for "Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation."
It is a technique that combines external chest compressions
and artificial ventilations that can keep a person alive
if their heart stops.
An AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is a
device that is programmed to give an electric shock to
a patient if the AED detects a dangerous heart rhythm
such as ventricular fibrillation. AEDs are special
defibrillators that are intended for use by those
with minimal training.
is for the heart to restart into a normal rhythm.
Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) means making AEDs
available in public and/or private places where large
numbers of people gather or people who are at high risk
for heart attacks live. It is a program for ensuring that
AEDs are present, properly maintained, and that medical
oversight for their use is available. PAD programs should
be combined with proper training programs to ensure that
CPR and AEDs are used to their fullest advantage
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which
the heart suddently, and unexpectedly, stops beating.
When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain, heart
and other vital organs.
Victims of SCA are unresponsive, lose consciousness,
stop breathing, and have no pulse. Most often, the
victim is suffering from a heart rhythm disorder
called ventricular fibrillation (VF).
SCA usually causes death if it is not treated within
minutes. In this case,
the victim needs CPR and defibrillation–an electric
shock to correct the heart’s rhythm–as soon
as possible. VF can happen to anyone-even someone
who appears perfectly healthy.
Most cases of SCA are due to ventricular fibrillation
(VF, or V-Fib, for short). V-Fib is one type of abnormal
heart rhythm. In V-Fib the venricles (the
heart’s lower chambers) do not beat normall.
Instead, they quiver very rapidly and irregularly.
Oher electrical problems in the heart also can
Several factors can cause these electrical
problems, including: Coronary Artery
Disease (CAD), severe physical stress, and
structural changes in the heart.
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to part of the
heart muscle is blocked, usually by either a blood clot
or fatty deposits within the walls of the arteries.
During a heart attack, the heart usually doesn’t
suddently stop beating. SCA, however, may happen
during or after recover from a heart attack.
Each year, between 250,000 and 450,000 Americans have sudden
cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA occurs most often in people in their
mid-thirties to mid-forties. It appears to affect men twice as often
With every passing minute, the chance for the
victim’s survival decreases up to 10%. As
fast as paramedics are, they can’t be everywhere.
By learning CPR and providing immediate
treatment, you can dramatically increase the
victim’s chances of survival. Indeed, without
you performing CPR, chances are the victim will not survive.
Public access defibrillation-putting AEDs in public
places where layperson’s can use them-is
already a stunning success story. The number of
places AED programs are being implemented grows
rapidly each year. Look for the AED symbol
Schools Community Centers Manufacturing
Facilities Places of Worship Airplanes &
Airports Casinos Police & Fire Vehicles
Restaurants Health Clubs Hotels
Convention Centers Office Buildings
An AED works by first turning the AED unit on and
listening to the voice prompts. Place the
defibrillator/electrically conductive adhesive pads
on a cardiac arrest victims chest according
to the AED instructions/diagram. Placement of the
defibrillator pads can vary according to the model
of AED. The AED automatically analyzes the victims
heart rhythm and determines when to apply the
electrical shock/defibrillate. Semi-automatic AEDs
require the lay-rescuer to push the shock button.
If the victim is
not in a shockable rhythm, the AED should then
prompt the lay-rescuer to begin CPR.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA),
for every minute that passes without defibrillation,
a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival
decreases by 7 to 10 %. The average response time
for emergency medical services arriving with
defibrillation equipment is 8 to12 MINUTES. After
10 MINUTES pass without defibrillation, resuscitation
of the victim is "rarely accomplished".
Studies show that Automated External Defibrillators
increase a cardiac arrest victim’s chances
of survival dramatically. In short, Automated
External Defibrillators "SAVE LIVES".
Massachusetts, Rhode Island and many other states require that all
health/athletic facilities have an Automated External
All commercial airlines now carry AEDs, and most
large airports are equipped with them also. Most
states have a Good Samaritan Law which will protect
a lay rescuer who attempts cardiopulmonary resuscitation
with or without an Automated External Defibrillator.
The AHA strongly advocates that all EMS first-response
vehicles and ambulances be equipped with an AED or
another defibrillation device (semiautomatic or
manual defibrillator). The AHA also supports placing
AEDs in targeted public areas such as sports arenas,
gated communities, office complexes, doctor’s
offices, shopping malls, etc. When AEDs are placed
in the community or a business or facility, the AHA
strongly encourages that they be part of a
defibrillation program in which:
acquire an AED notify the local EMS office.
A licensed physician or medical authority provides
medical oversight to ensure quality control.
Persons responsible for using the AED are trained
in CPR and how to use an AED.
It’s important for the local EMS
system to know where AEDs are located in
the community. In the event of a sudden
cardiac arrest emergency, the 9-1-1 dispatcher
can notify the person who calls where it is and often coach them through their use.
This is a quality control mechanism. The licensed
physician or medical authority will ensure that all
designated responders are properly trained and that
the AED is properly maintained. He or she also can
help establishments develop an emergency response
plan for the AED program.
Early CPR is an integral part of providing lifesaving
aid to people suffering sudden cardiac arrest. CPR
helps to circulate oxygen-rich blood to the brain.
After the AED is attached and delivers a shock, the
typical AED will prompt the operator to evaluate
the patient for signs of circulation, and administer
CPR, if indicated, while the device continues to
analyze the victim’s heart rhythm.
An AED operator must know how to recognize the
signs of a sudden cardiac arrest, when to activate
the EMS system, and how to do effective CPR.
It’s also important for operators to receive
formal training on the AED model they will use so
that they become familiar with the device and are
able to successfully operate it in an emergency.
Training also teaches the operator how to avoid
potentially hazardous situations.
AEDs are manufactured and sold under guidelines
approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA may require someone who purchases an AED
to present a physician’s prescription for the
device. Only an AED purchased for home use can be
purchased without one.
If the person is a trained and licensed medical
first responder (MFR), an established standard of
care is outlined in the law, and those operating
within these guidelines are protected under these
laws. These same guidelines pertain to the personnel
in your EMS system. If they are not trained and
licensed MFRs, check the state laws to determine
if lay rescuers are given limited liability immunity.
If not, they may not be protected from litigation.
Agencies should seek legal counsel before implementing
a defibrillation program.
The price of an AED varies by make and model. Most
AEDs cost less than $1,800, including pads, signage, carrying case,
wall bracket, etc.
Any person or entity wanting to buy an AED may
first need to get a prescription from a physician.
The AED should be placed for use within an AED
program that includes these elements:
Training of all users in CPR and operation of an
AED (this can be achieved through the AHA’s
Heartsaver AED Course). Physician oversight
to ensure appropriate maintenance and use of the
AED. Notifying local EMS of the type and
location of AED(s).
The AHA does not recommend a specific device. All
AED models have similar features, but the slight
differences allow them to meet a variety of needs.
The AHA encourages potential buyers to consider all
models and make a selection based on the buyer’s
particular needs. We can help you with this decision.