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All You Need to Know about Automatic Defibrillators

Chest Compressions on Dummy With Defibrillator

If you are not a paramedic, doctor, or nurse, the automatic external defibrillator (AED) is what you are most likely to use if you ever need to give first aid to a person whose heart has stopped. Automatic defibrillators can be used by anyone, including laypeople or untrained caregivers.

Though anyone can use AEDs, it’s best for you to obtain your online national BLS certification so you can confidently respond to emergencies with proper AED training.

The American Health Care Academy offers online classes directed toward anyone. These online classes and certifications allow people to take the time they need to without sacrificing their schedule. They also give people easy access to their certification so they don’t have to wait for any documents in the mail.

This blog discusses the different types of AEDs, why is an AED needed, and how to operate them effectively. If you find yourself in an emergency, always dial 911 before attempting to apply any lifesaving measures. If you are interested in becoming CPR/AED certified, visit our CPR AED certification online page to discover the details.

AED Purpose: What are automatic defibrillators used for?

Cardiac arrest disrupts the electrical impulses between the brain and heart. This disruption prevents the heart from pumping blood to the rest of the body. By producing a high-energy electric shock through the chest wall, an AED can restore the neurological function to control the heart’s rhythm. This process is known as “defibrillating” the heart.

It is essential to understand that AEDs are for cardiac arrest and not a heart attack. The difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest is that heart attacks occur when there is a blood blockage within the heart. Cardiac arrest doesn’t have anything to do with a blockage in the heart, but rather, the communication between the brain and the heart.

Automatic Defibrillators being used on a patient

What Are the Different Types of AEDs?

There are many different types of AEDs, all of which require specific operations.


Semi-automated AEDs are intended for lay responders who need to treat someone in cardiac arrest. These machines only require pushing a button, pulling a handle, or opening a lid. Once the lay responder does this, the AED starts to give directions. It directs the user to apply the pads to the patient, as indicated by photo references.

After applying the pads, the machine analyzes the patient’s heart rhythm and determines whether it needs to produce a shock. If the device needs to deliver a shock, it will direct you to clear the patient and push the shock button.

To clear the patient, the person operating the AED should make sure no one is touching the patient. After the AED delivers the shock, it will issue instructions on whether you need to apply CPR to the patient. Some AEDs coach the user in how to give CPR.

Manual Defibrillator

You can find manual defibrillators in medical facilities or with paramedics. Manual defibrillators’ application depends on the patients’ needs, and medical professionals need to assess the patient’s condition before using them. Obtaining a Basic Life Support certification better suits you to determine if a patient needs a manual defibrillator.

According to the patient’s condition, the person or professional operating the AED must determine what voltage to use. Unlike the semi-automatic defibrillator, the manual does not provide any instructions, so laypeople should not attempt to use it on a patient without experience.

Internal Automatic Defibrillators

Internal defibrillators are not standard. They are used for people who have more complex heart rhythm problems. This type of defibrillator inserts into the patient’s chest and monitors the heart to produce a shock when needed. Laypeople should not need to operate an internal defibrillator.

Confirming Cardiac Arrest Before Using Automatic Defibrillators

Before using an AED, you must confirm someone is in cardiac arrest. If you think the person is unconscious, wake them up to make sure they are not just asleep. You can shake them, yell at them, or clap in their eye.

Moreover, if patients do not show any signs of waking up, it is a confirmation that you are dealing with a cardiac arrest patient.

After you confirm the patient is not asleep, begin checking for cardiac arrest. Checking for cardiac arrest takes three steps to complete.

First, check the patient’s pulse by holding the person’s arm straight, with the palm facing upwards. Afterwards, place your index finger and middle fingers on their wrist. Using a stopwatch, count how many beats you feel in 30 seconds and multiply the number of beats by two.

Meanwhile, if you don’t feel a pulse, make sure your fingers are in the right location by moving them around before determining the patient doesn’t have one,

After checking the patient’s pulse, apply the ABC method. The ABC method consists of three parts: airway, breathing, and circulation.

Airway- Tilt the head upwards, and remove any object obstructing the airwave.

Breathing- Lean your head towards the nose to check for breathing. Also, look at the chest to see if it results.

Circulation- If the victim has any color change, sweating, or change in the level of consciousness.

Call Emergency Number

As soon as you confirm it is cardiac arrest, call for help. Explain to the paramedics what measures you applied done and what techniques you want to administer. Also, seek any advice on how to better deal with your patient.

Begin the CPR

Begin giving the CPR while another person is performing AED. However, if you are alone, call for help before giving the CPR.

  • Give a 30 minutes chest compression. After every 30 minutes interval, give 2 breaths
  • Keep the chest compression steady — 100 compressions every minute
  • If you are not aware of how long the patient has been unconscious, first perform the AED before CPR.

Reasons to Get Your AED Certification

Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. An estimated 350,000 people experience the condition every year. The only way to restore a heart rhythm is by using an AED. Because people often suffer from these conditions without medical professionals being present, more of the general population needs to get certified.

Furthermore, first responders take an average of between 8-12 minutes to respond to emergencies. Every minute someone in cardiac arrest goes without medical attention, their odds of survival decrease by 10%. Having access to an AED can reverse those odds and keep people alive.

Getting Your AED Certification

Getting your CPR AED certification is an easy, affordable process that you can complete at your pace. You simply enroll in the class, complete the modules at your discretion, and when finished, you receive a digital certificate.

Additionally, you can access this digital certificate anytime and anywhere, so if you’re a medical professional or you need CPR/AED certification for your job, you can present it right away.

American Health Care Academy Is Your CPR AED Training Provider

Now that you have a basic understanding of operating AEDs and the different types of AED, it’s time to think about whether or not you want to get certified. Because medical first responders can’t possibly respond to every cardiac arrest case, the demand for CPR AED certified laypeople is higher than ever.

Accordingly, the American Health Care Academy provides CPR AED certification that help save lives. These classes aren’t intensive, and you can control your pace without sacrificing too much of your time. Visit our CPR AED training page to start your certification process today. For how long does CPR certification last? The CPR AED certification lasts for 2 years which can be renewed.

At the American Health Care Academy, we provide self-paced online CPR AED certification that prepare you for these types of emergencies.  Register today to sharpen your lifesaving skills today.

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