Who Should Buy an AED for Home Use?
Although some people are more predisposed to cardiac arrest than others, sudden death can happen to anyone, anywhere. SCA affects men and women, young and old, and even those who seem to be in perfect health.
While ideally there would be a lifesaving AED in every household, several groups of people should consider purchasing an AED for their home sooner rather than later. Personal defibrillators are ideal for:
- Individuals with known heart problems or a family history of cardiac disease
- Informed AED users such as first responders and healthcare providers
- Other individuals and groups with certain hobbies and lifestyles
“Usually the first symptom of Long QT is sudden cardiac arrest, and that typically leads to sudden death. And it can happen at any time.”
Diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome at the age of 14
Individuals & Families who might be At-Risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Unfortunately, the warning signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest are diverse and can be difficult to identify. SCA can occur without any warning at all. This unpredictability speaks to the importance of preparedness and knowing how to save lives from SCA.
While it’s true that the causes of SCA can vary tremendously between individuals, there are a few warning signs that should be on your radar.
Known cardiac arrhythmia and other heart conditions:
- Certain conditions like Long QT syndrome, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), and others can put people at increased risk of suffering Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Unfortunately, it’s common for some people to be diagnosed with a heart condition, but not qualify for an implantable defibrillator or similar preventative measure. In these cases, we recommend buying an AED for home use.
- While heart attacks are a “plumbing problem” caused by blocked arteries and SCA is an “electrical problem” that impairs the heart’s ability to beat, these conditions are related. Heart attacks can lead to cardiac arrest. AEDs are advisable for households with coronary artery and other heart disease.
Family history of cardiac conditions:
- Some cardiac abnormalities are hereditary, so if there’s a family history of heart disease, you should consider buying an AED for home use.
Other cardiac arrest warning signs:
- If you have a family member or know someone who has experienced possible cardiac arrest warning signs such as chest pain, fainting, or shortness of breath, it may be wise to look into purchasing a home defibrillator.
Informed AED Owners
Informed AED buyers, like firefighters, police officers, EMTs, physicians, and other professionals that know about how and when to use AEDs should consider buying an AED for home use. Even when these individuals are off-duty, the lay public turns to them for help. “Go get Mary from next door, she’s a doctor!”
Informed AED users are all around us. They fly next to us. Their kids play on the same sports teams as ours. And, they live in our neighborhoods. AEDs are the perfect tool for first responders and healthcare providers to have at home to protect their household and community.
Additional groups who might consider purchasing an AED unit for home use
- You are popular! Large gatherings where people congregate and assemble can be common locations for cardiac arrest. This is why many public locations, like schools and airports, require AED units. If you regularly host events, reunions, or dinner parties with a lot of people, you should consider having an AED available just in case.
- You and your family participate in sports and recreational activities. Parents who coach and attend youth sports should consider a home defibrillator. Sudden Cardiac Arrest is tragically the leading cause of death among student-athletes and claims the lives of over 7,000-10,000 youth die each year. Unfortunately, for children exerting themselves during exercise, SCA is often the first indication that they have an underlying heart condition. For youth who play sports such as baseball or lacrosse, commotio cordis is also a concerning cause of SCA. Having a portable defibrillator available can provide peace-of-mind and ensure that, if an SCA emergency were to occur, you are prepared to save a life.
"You don’t ever want to be left standing there saying, 'Oh my God, if only we’d had an AED.'"
Director of the Peyton Walker Foundation who lost her 19-year-old daughter to SCA
- If you participate in activities that occur in rural places. Perhaps your household enjoys hiking and camping at state parks, or perhaps you play pick-up baseball with friends at a field located far away from emergency services. Bringing an AED can reduce time-to-defibrillation and increase the likelihood of survival if sudden cardiac arrest were to occur.
- You have a pool
- You are a member or leader of your homeowner’s association board