When someone suffers from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces their chance of survival by 10-14%.

A lot of people are aware of what a defibrillator is used for however, do you know exactly how it saves a life?

A Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a condition which causes the heart to beat in an irregular rhythm. An automated external defibrillator (AED) is an electronic device which analyses and aids in restoring the heart’s natural rhythm in the event of a SCA.

UK The electrode pads must be connected to the patient’s bare chest.
HEART The electrode pads are used to transfer the electricity from the defibrillator to the casualty safely.
MAN After assessing the heart, if the patient needs defibrillation, the defibrillator will start to charge itself automatically in preparation for delivering a shock.
MAN The pads allow the defibrillator to monitor the heart’s electrical rhythm and deliver a shock to the patient if needed.

Once the defibrillator has charged and prepared to shock, the electrical current is released from the machine and travels through the electrode pads to shock the chest wall or heart.

There are two different types of defibrillator: semi-automatic and fully automatic. A full automatic model will do everything, leaving you to perform CPR when needed, whereas a semi-automatic defibrillator requires you to push a button to deliver the shock.

Once the defibrillator has shocked the heart, it advises you to perform CPR whilst it assesses whether the patient needs to be shocked again.

Once the defibrillator has shocked the patient, the electricity shocks the heart into stopping with the aim of restoring its regular rhythm.

As soon as someone collapses, you should always call 999. If the defibrillator stabilises the heart’s natural rhythm, the patient will need to be taken to the closest hospital to receive further care.