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Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)
Automated External Defibrillators are portable devices that contain sophisticated electronics to monitor and identify the cardiac rhythm.
Defibrillation is the treatment of the arrhythmias most commonly associated with sudden cardiac arrest by delivering an electrical shock to the heart.
The AED is a computerized medical device which can be used to check a person's heart rhythm. Defibrillation is the only effective treatment for ventricular fibrillation, the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest. The AED can recognize a rhythm that requires a shock and will advise the rescuer when a shock is needed.
When used promptly and properly, AEDs increase the chance of survival after cardiac arrest. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that: The AED represents an efficient method of delivering defibrillation to persons experiencing out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and its use by both experienced and inexperienced first responders appears to be safe and effective.
Ease of Use
AEDs automatically senses if the victim needs a shock or not. If a shock is needed, the AED will sound a warning before applying or prompting the rescuer to apply a shock. AEDs are very easy to use with just a few hours of training. Anyone can learn to use an AED safely and effectively. The AED uses voice prompts and warning lights to tell the rescuer what to do.
A recent study published in “Circulation” found that untrained sixth graders following automated voice prompts performed almost as well in use of AEDs as well-trained emergency medical technicians or paramedics.
According to the American Heart Association only around five percent of the people who have sudden and unexpected cardiac arrest each year outside a hospital are successfully resuscitated without an AED, compared to the approximate 60 percent success rates found with AEDs. AEDs in the workplace are proven to be a very cost-effective intervention.
Liability and Utah Laws
The “Good Samaritan” doctrine is a legal principle that prevents a rescuer who has voluntarily helped a victim in distress from being successfully sued for “wrongdoing.” The purpose of such laws is to keep people from being reluctant to help a stranger who needs assistance for fear of possible legal repercussions, in the event that a mistake in treatment is made inadvertently by the rescuer.
In 2000, the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act was signed into law in Utah. Senate Bill 86 provided for liability exemption extended to laypersons that use an AED. This law specifically protects those who use an automated external defibrillator on a victim from civil liability.
Utah law also requires all owners of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) located in the state to register with the state Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (BEMS). The Utah Safety Council will process registrations for any person or organization that purchases one of its AEDs.
Become a certified First Aid, CPR and AED instructor.