Frequently Asked Questions

What is an AED?

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can stop an irregular rhythm and allow a normal rhythm to resume in a heart in sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is an abrupt loss of heart function. If it’s not treated within minutes, it quickly leads to death.

Known Facts

  • An AED will only administer a shock for two types of abnormal heart rhythms: ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation.
  • An AED will not shock someone who does not need a shock. An AED is designed to only shock ventricular fibrillation (VF). It will not shock any other heart rhythm. Nevertheless, AEDs are not perfect and in 1% of cases it may shock a rhythm other than VF. That’s why it should only be attached to a person who is unconscious and has collapsed.
  • For every minute without life-saving CPR and defibrillation, chances of survival decrease by 7 to 10%.
  • Only 8% of victims who suffer from SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest) outside of a hospital setting survive.
  • SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest) strikes without warning
  • There are 1,900 to 14,200 cases of out of hospital SCA in children each year.
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the leading cause of cardiac related death in the United States.
  • Early defibrillation with an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and CPR can more than double chances of survival.
  • 64% of Americans have never seen an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) machine.
  • 50% of men and 63% of women fall victim to SCA without any prior symptoms of heart problems.
  • An AED can still be used on someone with a pacemaker.
  • The American Heart Association estimates that 20,000 to 100,000 Sudden Cardiac Arrest deaths could be prevented if defibrillation was readily available.