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When is an AED employed?

An AED, automated external defibrillator, is a machine which has been designed to save lives; it will give the victim of heart malfunction a jolt of electricity which will reestablish the normal rhythm of the heart beat. There are a number of different issues with heart failure, three of the most common are:

1. Heart attack: This is a term which is usually used by a layman whenever a person exhibits heart failure, but when a heart attack occurs it is a result of a blockage in the blood stream leading to the heart, starving the heart of blood. The usual cause is a clot in the ventricle artery.

2. Ventricular fibrillation: This is a form of cardiac arrest where there is a disruption in the electrical system that makes the heart beat properly. During ventricular fibrillation the heart does not pump blood, it simply flutters and the victim, within seconds, is technically dead. With no blood flowing to the brain, the breathing function shuts down.

3. Ventricular tachycardia: This is the other form of cardiac arrest but this condition speeds up the heart beat to the point where it cannot adequately fill with blood. As ventricular fibrillation stops the victim from breathing, ventricular tachycardia does not necessarily stop this function.

In the case of a heart attack CPR is to be administered as the victim is still alive. In the case of cardiac arrest, an AED such as a LIFEPAK 500 is used. A LIFEPAK 500 is a defibrillator that knows the difference between these conditions, in the event the issue is either ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia the AED kicks in and gives the victim a shock, it ignores everything else.

AEDs are beginning to appear in places where there are a large number of people congregating. Personnel working in these places are being trained to properly operate an AED, it is not difficult as the machines provide information to the operator, all he or she has to do is to makes sure of a few safety considerations so that neither they nor any by-standers are subjected to the shock. The AED stops the heart with the shock, thus allowing it to reset itself and take back the electrical function.

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