* Automated External Defibrillator
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An automated external defibrillator or AED, is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient and is able to treat them through defibrillation - the application of electrical therapy which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm. With simple audio and visual commands, AEDs (defibrillators) are designed to be simple to use for the layman, and the use of AEDs (defibrillators) is taught in many first aid, first responder, and basic life support courses.
Effect of Delayed Treatment
Uncorrected, these cardiac conditions (ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, asystole) rapidly lead to irreversible brain damage and death. After approximately three to five minutes, irreversible brain/tissue damage may begin to occur. For every minute that a person in cardiac arrest goes without being successfully treated (by defibrillation), the chance of survival decreases by 7 percent per minute in the first 3 minutes, and decreases by 10 percent per minute as time advances beyond ~3 minutes.
Requirements for use
AEDs (defibrillators)are designed to be used by laypersons who ideally should have received AED (defibrillators) training. This is in contrast to more sophisticated manual and semi-automatic defibrillators used by health professionals, which can act as a pacemaker if the heart rate is too slow (bradycardia) and perform other functions which require a skilled operator able to read electrocardiograms.
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