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An AED is an Automatic External Defibrillator. One of the myths about AED units is that they start the heart, what they actually do is provide a shock that interrupts the abnormal twitching of the heart, hopefully allowing the heart’s own pacemaker to sort itself out.

When using an AED there are shockable rhythms (VF and VT) and non-shockable for example where the heart is beating normally or where there is no electrical activity at all just a flat-line. To use an AED effectively you don’t need to worry because the AED will detect this and tell you whether to shock or not.

It is vital to get the AED to the patient as soon as possible and to carry out effective CPR until the AED arrives.

Early defibrillation is a vital link in the chain of survival and every second counts.