An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a small, lightweight, and portable electronic device that delivers an electric shock through the chest wall of a person whose heart has stopped beating. It is proven to be one of the most important tools in saving the life of someone suffering sudden cardiac arrest, and it’s a piece of equipment that St. John Ambulance recommends for every home and workplace.
What is sudden cardiac arrest? It occurs when heart function ceases abruptly and without warning. The heart is no longer able to pump blood to the rest of the body. Not to be confused with a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical problem that creates an abnormal heart rhythm, preventing the heart from pumping blood to all vital organs.
Sudden cardiac arrest is unpredictable; it can happen anywhere, anytime, at any age, and without any warning. In fact, one occurs every 12 minutes in Canada and, with each passing minute before AED application, the probability of survival declines by 7-10%. Time is of the essence in these situations and using an AED is the only effective intervention.