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AEDs - Automated External Defibrillators saving lives in USA

Michael Rad

Statistics give us more and more information related to sudden cardiac arrests and other heart failures. More and more people and in earlier and earlier stages of their life die of a heart disease. Statistics, in the US alone, are extremely alarming:
- Every 30 seconds someone dies because of a heart disease;
- More than 2.500 Americans die daily because of heart diseases;
- Every 20 seconds there is a person suffering a heart attack;
- Each year 6 million people are hospitalized because of a heart disease;
- The number 1 cause of death in the US is a heart disease.
Although the AED is not an universal panacea for all heart diseases, nothing else can compete with its major feature – effectively re-starting the heart after it has been stopped by a sudden cardiac arrest. Because of their ease-of-use and portability, automated external defibrillators are being introduced in more and more public places, and chances are that AEDs will be as common as fire extinguishers in gyms, schools and airports.

From a technical point of view, an AED is used for ventricular fibrillation. In other words, an AED is used at the lower electrical level of the heart, when the two chambers called ventricles are no longer beating in a normal rhythm. The technical term describes that the ventricles are fibrillating, meaning that the muscle fibres of the heart contract spontaneously, rapidly, and irregularly. The heart is no longer capable to pump blood into the body, thus causing a sudden cardiac arrest. Here is where the contribution of an AED device is of great help – it has the capacity to re-start the heart. This is one good reason for a patient with a known history of heart diseases to have such a device at home.
Not long ago, the AED device was used strictly by medical professionals or by the crews of ambulances. Before the 1980s it was a large and heavy device and way too complicated to be used by a person without medical background, but things have changed.
Today, the AED is a portable and automated machine, slim and light and easy to be used by anyone in case of emergency. This device monitors the activity of the heart and determines if defibrillation is necessary. In case the Automated External Defibrillator detects a problem the AED will help you proceed to the defibrillation process by using audiovisual prompts and instructions.

So there are plenty of reasons why an AED device should be kept in all homes around the world. We all have relatives who died because of heart problems, so why ignore the crucial help such a device could offer?
Let’s return to the statistics concerning the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) incidence in US, because they give more and more reasons to have this machine at home:
- each year 325,000 Americans die because of SCA;
- 95% of those who suffer an SCA die before arriving to a hospital;
- every day, on average, 1000 people die of SCA;
- SCA brings death in a matter of minutes;
- The victims of SCA can be saved by using an AED.
It’s easy to hesitate and have second thoughts when a heart attack occurs, unfortunately SCA can not wait and the AED is a viable solution for emergency cases. And because AEDs are so easy to use (they require little or no training), more and more families will consider them to be a life-saving investment. With people spending money on home security systems, it also makes sense to purchase an AED that you can use at home in case a member of your family suffers a heart attack.

For more resources on Automated External Defibrillators and updated information on AED selection factors, please visit our website, A related health website you might be interested in deals with all the complexities of drug and alcohol rehab

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