A Home Defibrillator: The life-saving tool all families need
Before discussing the pros & cons of purchasing a home defibrillator, it’s helpful to understand what AEDs do and why they are needed.
Automated External Defibrillators, commonly known as AEDs, are used to revive someone in Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). SCA is a dangerous, life-threatening condition that occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. Without a proper heartbeat, victims of Sudden Cardiac Arrest will die within minutes. Fortunately, there is a treatment! AEDs treat patients in SCA by safely restarting the heart.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest is not only dangerous, it is also the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of over 350,000 people every year!
The most recent data suggest that 70% of cardiac arrests happen at home, with the vast majority of the victims dying before help arrives. That’s 250,000 lives lost each year in American homes. This massive number of people is equivalent to one-third of the population of Seattle, WA dying each year.
“For us, having an AED at home is very important because we know people at risk. We bought a personal AED for our house in the event that cardiac arrest were to happen at home. It’s not unrealistic that we could be walking around the house and suddenly one of us is laying on the floor in sudden cardiac arrest. We want to be prepared with an AED so that we can do something to save a family member in the event of cardiac arrest."
diagnosed with Long QT syndrome at the age of 14, shares why her family purchased AEDs upon learning that she, her mother, and brother have a potentially lethal heart arrhythmia.
Smart Technology for Your Home
AED units make saving a life simple by using smart technology and guiding users through the rescue process. When the AED’s electrode pads are applied to a person’s chest, they read the person’s heart rhythm to see if they need to be treated with a defibrillation shock. If they are in a shockable heart rhythm, then the AED will deliver a shock that can save their life. If they are not in a shockable rhythm, then the AED will NOT deliver a shock. Therefore, AEDs cannot hurt someone who doesn’t need help. Learn more about how AEDs work and when they’re needed.
Time is of the Essence
When Sudden Cardiac Arrest occurs, a person’s heart unexpectedly stops beating. Therefore, oxygen-rich blood is not being delivered to the brain and other vital organs. This lack of oxygen causes victims to collapse and become unresponsive. Without oxygen, the chances of survival for cardiac arrest victims decrease quickly by 7-10% for each minute that passes. Therefore, to increase the likelihood of survival, AEDs should be used as fast as possible!
AEDs are Built for Lay Responders
While it is prudent for health care professionals to have AEDs at home, you don’t need a medical license to use an AED. They are built for use by anyone!
In fact, there are many stories and even research studies about how youth can successfully use AEDs
- Here is a story of three students who successfully used an AED to save the life of their classmate.
- When AED use was compared between trained professionals and 6th-graders with no previous AED training, researchers found that the differences between the groups “were small and may be of little clinical relevance”
- Research shows that CPR training is successful in a wide age-range of children
Home AED Resources
- Did you know that 1 in 10,000-12,000 pregnant women go into cardiac arrest? Learn more about performing CPR on pregnant women and the risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest during pregnancy.
- When do you need pediatric electrode pads? This guide explains the different types of electrode pads for AEDs.
Home AED Rescue Stories
Almost 700 people die of Sudden Cardiac Arrest in the home every day. Learn why these people lived.
Frequently Asked Questions about Buying an AED for Personal Use
AEDs are an important part of home safety, so make sure you’re informed before buying a portable defibrillator!