Automated External Defibrillators (AED) (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Automated External Defibrillators
In the mid-1980s, a new generation of computerized defibrillators was introduced. Called Automated External Defibrillators, or "AEDs" for short, these devices were capable of interpreting a person's heart rhythm and automatically delivering a defibrillation shock with only minimal input from the operator.
For the first time, EMS personnel such as basic emergency medical technicians (EMTs) were able to provide the life-saving technique of defibrillation without having to interpret ECG rhythms.
As AEDs began to be placed in more and more "basic life support" ambulances (those not staffed by more advanced paramedics), the survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest began to rise. However, the problem of getting the defibrillator to the victim in less than 10 minutes remained a challenge.
The next step in reducing the amount of time it took to get a defibrillator to a cardiac arrest victim came with the recognition that the police are often the first to arrive at the scene of a medical emergency, ahead of an EMS unit.
Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape
Kouwenhouven showed that electrical shocks applied to dogs within 30 seconds of an induced ventricular fibrillation (VF) could produce a 98% rate of resuscitation; however, those shocked after 2 minutes of VF had only a 27% resuscitation rate.