Can you be of assistance to a person suffering from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest(SDA)? The fact is, most of us do not possess professional knowledge in this regard. The good news is, with AED devices now at our disposal, we as laymen can also save the life of a cardiac arrest victim.

While studies suggest that regular use of a multivitamin could benefit heart patients, it will just minimise the risk, if at all. Hence, an AED device could play a key role in saving a loved one, the AED pricing must not be our greatest concern.

Automated External Defibrillators(AED): An overview

An AED can save a life during a cardiac arrest. The use of an AED machine is not limited to health organizations. This lightweight, portable, battery-operated machine can be used at home and workplaces. If you or anybody in your family is at risk of facing a sudden cardiac arrest, you can consider keeping an AED handy.

An AED should be installed in workplaces, schools, public utility areas, and recreational avenues so that a maximum number of people can avail of it during emergencies. Companies and schools should implement AED programs where they train their employees to use the defibrillators.

Sudden Cardiac Attack

During an SCA, a person who may or may not have a previous history of heart disease suffers a sudden loss of heart function. This loss of heart function is due to abnormal heart rhythms, also known as arrhythmia. Ventricular fibrillation is a common arrhythmia in which the electrical system of the heart malfunctions. Ventricular tachycardia or a very fast heartbeat is another condition that could lead to an SCA.

In the above conditions, the blood supply to the brain and other vital organs gets impaired, and the person collapses. Many sufferers have no previous history of heart disease and are afflicted without caution. The possibility of survival from sudden cardiac death reduces up to 10 percent for each minute without immediate defibrillation or CPR. After 10 minutes, resuscitation rarely succeeds.

So a victim must be provided resuscitation within 10 minutes of a cardiac arrest.

The Chain of Survival

As per the American Heart Association Chain of Survival, there are 6 key links for out-of-hospital survival.

● Recognizing the SCA and activating an emergency procedure

● CPR with an emphasis on compressions

● Immediate defibrillation

● Effective Advanced Life support by Emergency Medical Services and other medical aid

● Post-SCA care

● Recovery- this includes treatment, observation, and long-term preventive measures

How does an AED work?

An AED is an electronic device that analyses heart rhythms. When it detects irregularities in the heart, such as arrhythmia, it delivers an electrical shock to the heart. This mechanism is known as defibrillation.

Electrode pads are used to transfer the electrical shock to the heart to stop Ventricular fibrillation. The electrical shock provides the heart with an opportunity to return to a normal heartbeat. AEDs are small portable devices that require the user assisting the SCA victim to turn on the device and follow the instructions provided in the audio.

How safe is the AED?

An AED provides an electric shock to the heart. It is designed in a manner such that the current delivered by an AED restarts the heart but does not damage the heart muscles. That makes it the perfect tool for saving the life of a cardiac arrest victim.

What is the cost of an AED?

The price of an AED ranges between $1500-$3000. Old and refurbished devices are also available. Considering the importance of an AED in saving the life of an SCA victim, the device should be carefully scanned before purchase.

When are AEDs used?

An AED should be used immediately when the victim experiences a sudden cardiac arrest. The AED, at that moment, could be the only device that could save the person’s life in the event of a cardiac arrest. When a person experiences cardiac arrest, a family member or any bystander can come forward to help. The AED can be provided to both children and adults. When combined with CPR, the victim’s chances of survival greatly improve.

Importance of a CPR

CPR or Cardiopulmonary is an emergency procedure performed when the heartbeat stops. Heart compressions are performed in addition to providing artificial ventilation to preserve brain function. The process is often repeated to restore breathing and blood circulation or till further aid or an AED is provided.

What to do if the person goes into cardiac arrest?

If you spot a person suffering from SCA, has fainted or collapsed, here is what you should do.

● Check the person’s breathing and pulse rate.

● If you cannot find the pulse or if the person is not breathing, emergency help is needed. Call for help and ask someone to call 911.

● Use the AED: The automated external defibrillator is fitted with an audio system that will guide you with a step-by-step process of using the AED.

● If CPR is needed after the AED, the AED device will also guide the user to conduct the CPR. This process is repeated until the emergency services turn up.

How do I operate the AED?

The AED is a simple device to operate. You can press the ’ON’ button and an audio instruction will guide you through the steps. The audio prompts you to place the electrodes at the right location on the skin. Peel the adhesive strips and stick the electrodes to the skin. If instructed, connect the pad connector to the device. This automated device will ascertain the patient’s heartbeat.

When the pads are in position, the AED will measure the patient’s heart function to ascertain whether a shock is needed. If so, the device will instruct the user to stand back and press a button to administer the shock. The AED is also equipped not to deliver a shock if it is not required.

Make sure no contact is made with the person at this stage as it could alter the AED’s heartbeat readings. If no heartbeat is detected, the AED will follow a series of functions to restore the person. The cycle is repeated till emergency help arrives.

Like all safety devices, An AED should be checked on a scheduled basis, which is usually a month. Keep checking the expiry date of the batteries and change them if needed.

Places that should preferably have an AED include:

● School

● Gyms and Fitness Centers

● Dental services

● Optometrists

● Large Capacity Buildings

● Coal Mines

● Dialysis Centers

● Golf Courses

● Quarries

● Prisons and jails

● Beaches and swimming pools

● Racing and gaming facilities

Note: Check with your state laws to ascertain whether your organization is required to own an AED.

Importance of AED programs for organizations

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recommended public entities, federal agencies and large companies to buy a portable AED to keep on-site. It should be installed in common areas where they can be easily spotted in a critical situation. The American Heart Association encourages organizations to implement the AED programs as it increases the rate of survival for patients with cardiac-related ailments. Employees should be trained to use the AED device effectively.

This simple measure of having an AED could save the lives of your co-worker, employee, employer, student, teacher, friend, or fellow being. An AED program delivering defibrillation to a cardiac arrest victim within 3 to 5 minutes after they collapse, improves their chances of survival manifold.

Legal considerations of using the AED

Mostly all 50 states and the District of Columbia encourage the use of AED devices as a part of their initiative towards the Good Samaritan Laws. As per the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act of 2000, the placement of AEDs in federal buildings is encouraged. It also ensures federal liability protection for those who possess or use an AED to help an SCA victim.

Besides, limited immunity is granted to persons using the AED and the buyer of the AED device. As a company, do consult a legal counsel for the safety review of your AED program.


According to The American Heart Association, better public access to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) could save thousands of lives every year. The price of an AED is determined by the costs involved in the research, FDA regulatory costs, price of its rigorously-tested components, and other manufacturing costs.

We understand that the price of an AED is a huge consideration for small businesses and organizations before buying this health safety device. However, businesses cannot ignore the health and well-being of their workers and pose a threat to their lives. And when you weigh the price of an AED device against its life-saving benefits, the amount will be worth it.