The benefits of using Automated External Defibrillators are broadly twofold.
Firstly, they are able to effectively diagnose the condition of the patient?s heart, allowing decisions to be made about how best to proceed. This diagnosis is carried out automatically, and therefore does not require the extensive knowledge that a doctor or other health professional may use to analyse the function of a person?s heart. By acquiring and examining the detail of the heart beat, AEDs are able to tell you if you have a serious problem quickly so that immediate action can be taken.
Secondly, AEDs are able to treat these arrhythmic problems, by regulating the heartbeat and hopefully avoiding the possible consequence of cardiac arrest. The device detects two broad conditions: ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. With ventricular tachycardia, the heart beats too fast for the blood to be effectively pumped. With ventricular fibrillation, the heart?s electrical activity becomes irregular, and prevents the effective function of the ventricle. AEDs are only intended to help in situations where the patient?s heartbeat has not yet reached asystole, i.e. where there is no longer any electrical activity in the heart.
The use of AEDs in situations where the patient may otherwise undergo cardiac arrest is hugely beneficial. Not only does timely use of AEDs increase the chances of survival, it also restricts the likelihood of tissue and brain damage, which, when they do occur, can be irreversible.