If there is a person in a home who has a history of heart trouble, having an automated external defibrillator (AED) on hand should not be an option. The use of an AED can save a life, and the person using it does not even have to be a medical professional. Home defibrillators walk the user through the steps needed to take. There are types of AED with audio instructions and those that also have a visual display on their screen. Written directions are best for homes where a rescuer might be hard of hearing.
While training is not required in the use of a home defibrillator, it can make those in the home more comfortable with the unit when it comes time to use it. Homes of elderly people with heart conditions are ideal for an AED. When it is needed, the heart no longer pumps efficiently. The ventricles of the heart do not compress enough to send the oxygenated blood anywhere. This is a dangerous condition known as fibrillation. CPR can stabilize the victim until medical personnel arrive, but it should only be done by those trained in it. A home defibrillator administers a shock to the heart to reset its beating. These are the same devices used by ambulance crews, and the sooner the heart’s rhythm is reset back to normal, the less damage is done to the brain and body.
Having an AED in a home is not a guarantee that it will be used, but even a single use will pay for the defibrillator since there is no price that can be placed on the life saved by using an automated external defibrillator.