Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a Cardiac Arrest and a Heart Attack?


Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when a person's heart suddenly stops beating due to an electrical malfunction. A person experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest will collapse and lose conciousness, will have no pulse and will not be breathing normally. If no treatment is given, death can occur within minutes. A heart attack occurs when one or more arteries are blocked and blood flow to the heart is impeded. Related symptoms, including pain or pressure in the chest, pain or discomfort in back or jaw, shortness of breath, nausea and cold sweats, can be sudden, progressive, or come and go. In most cases, the heart does not stop beating but the longer the artery is blocked, the more damage is done to the heart. Treatment varies for these two conditions, but it is vital to contact emergency services as soon as symptoms appear.




What is an AED?


AED stands for automated external defibrillator. An AED is a portable, easy-to-use, battery-powered device that analyzes the heart's electrical activity. AEDs can be used to revive someone that is in sudden cardiac arrest by sending an electrical shock to the heart that has potential to restore a normal sinus heart rhythm.




Do I need training to use an AED?


The American Heart Association recommends training for both CPR and AED use to be able to recognize the signs of sudden cardiac arrest. Contacting emergency services immediately and starting CPR as soon as possible is crucial to survival of a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. When an AED is available and applied, it will advise to deliver a shock if it is necessary. CPR is continued until the victim is revived or emergency medical services arrive. AEDs are easy-to-use and will direct you through the steps of how to operate the device. If someone is unresponsive and not breathing normally, and a trained responder is not available, do not hesitate to use the AED. Turn it on and follow the prompts.




When do AED electrode pads need to be replaced?


AED electrode pads typically last somewhere between 18 to 60 months depending on the product. The pads will be marked with an expiration date should be replaced by that date. Some AEDs will also test the validity of the pads and signal an alert for replacement that could be prior to that date. It is important to become familiar with the model of AED you would be most likely to use. Additionally, electrode pads are a single-use item, so any pads opened or used on a patient in a medical emergency would need to be replaced.




Do I actually need an AED?


AEDs are generally recommended to be available where large groups of people congregate. Some organizations are required by law to have and maintain AEDs on site. Regulations do vary by state in the U.S. Check with the laws in your area to see where AEDs are mandatory. Statistically speaking, in the United States, more lives are lost to sudden cardiac arrest than cancer, fires, guns, car accidents, and AIDS combined. It's estimated that readily available AEDs could save nearly 50,000 lives a year in America alone.




What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?


Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is an abrupt malfunction in the heart that causes it to stop beating regularly. Due to this sudden disruption of the electrical impulses, the heart becomes unable to effectively pump blood and oxygen throughout the body. When the brain and other vital organs are deprived of oxygen, serious damage can occur including death.