An AED is needed when sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs causing the heart to stop beating. There is a 5-minute window from when the victim collapses to when shock from an AED must be applied for the victim to survive. AEDs can be fully automatic or semi-automatic with the main difference being how the shock is applied. Regardless of which AED you are using, both offer visual and/or audio prompts to guide you.
Fully Automatic AEDs
A Fully Automatic AED reads a victim’s underlying heart rhythm and if they have a shockable rhythm the AED will administer a shock automatically. It will not shock the victim if they do not need it. The automatic version of the AED was created with the intention of reducing the delay in administering the shock by those who may not be comfortable pressing the shock button.
A Semi-Automatic AED will read the victim’s underlying heart rhythm and if they have a shockable rhythm, it will prompt the rescuer to push the shock button to administer the shock. Just like the fully automatic AED, a semi-automatic AED will not prompt the shock button to be pushed if the shock is not needed.
How AED Prompts Work
Using an AED can be intimidating but fortunately they come with visual and/or audio prompts to help you feel more comfortable and confident using one. Nearly every AED regardless of it being fully automatic or semi-automatic offer visual prompts in the form of large graphics or iconography that demonstrate how to use the AED. They also will visually show you how to administer CPR. In semi-automatic AEDs, audio prompts will instruct the user how to use the AED and will tell you when to administer the shock button.
AED packages with great visual and audio cues include the HeartSine Samaritan AED Business Package or the ZOLL AED Plus Business Package.
AEDs are important because SCA can happen at any time, anywhere and at any age. Rescuers will not always be prepared but can be confident in helping to save a victim’s life through the help of an AEDs visual and audio cues.