An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device used to administer an electric shock to the heart and restore the heart's normal rhythm during Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
In the past, defibrillators were complicated and cumbersome. Only medical professionals with extensive training in heart rhythm interpretation could use them. Today, defibrillators used in public places and in the home are automated, portable and easy to use. It is essential that defibrillation be administered immediately following the cardiac arrest. If the heart does not return to a regular rhythm within 5-7 minutes, this fibrillation could be fatal. If defibrillated within the first minute of collapse, the victim’s chances for survival are close to 90%. For every minute that defibrillation is delayed, survival decreases by 7 percent to 10 percent. If it is delayed by more than 10 minutes, the chance of survival in adults is less than 5 percent.