A step by step guide to how a defibrillator works


In essence, defibrillators are medical devices that deliver electrical shocks to the heart, returning it to a normal rhythm when a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) occurs. Every ambulance and medical institution in the UK are fitted with defibrillators, but these require extensive medical training to operate, and you may need to be familiar with pacemakers, or Internal Cardioverter-Defibrillators (ICDs), that are surgically implanted into patients with previous heart issues.

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are the devices you see in workplaces, public spaces and schools across the country, and are designed specifically so a passersby with little-to-no medical training can respond to the 30,000 SCAs that occur outside of medical environments every year in the UK. 

Understanding what an AED does is crucial in an emergency, as every minute that passes diminishes an SCA victim's chances of survival by as much as 10%.

What are the key functionalities of an AED?

As the name suggests, an AED is automated so that it is simple to use when an SCA occurs. Because of this, to be effective an AED should:

Guide the user – providing clear instruction of how to operate the AED, how to apply the electrode pads to the torso of the patient, give CPR feedback and clearly indicate what process is happening, such as when a shock is going to be applied so the responders can cease contact with the victim.

Analyse the heart rhythm – not all heart emergencies are treated with defibrillation, so it's vital for the AED to analyse the victim's heart rhythm. It must be assumed that the responder isn't a medical professional and is not able to perform an accurate diagnosis in an emergency.

Deliver shocks – whether automatically or by manual operation, with a correct analysis an AED must deliver high-energy electrical shocks to increase the chances of reviving the victim. Depending on the circumstances, this may happen multiple times. It will also advise when no shock is needed and when to carry out CPR.

Record data – although this isn't a feature on every device on the market, it's becoming increasingly common amongst modern AEDs to record patient-specific data so that better treatment can be performed in the hospital. Devices with WiFi or cellular connectivity can deliver real time information directly to the emergency services.

Knowing what to do

Responding to an SCA can be a stressful, overwhelming experience for the passerby. That's why our devices have a simple one or two button operation, with voice and visual prompts for users, ensuring ease of use and quick response times.

We stock some of the most advanced and efficient defibrillators available, with intuitive designs, ease of operation and impedance ranges that deliver life-saving shocks in more instances than others. With training models and leasing options available, we provide the devices that suit your needs and a range of procurement options. 

Click here to view our range of AEDs or contact us at sales@aerohealthcare.co.uk.

3 signs you are ready to join a procurement framework

There are many reasons why public sector organisations decide to join procurement frameworks. If you or your company has been considering easier alternatives to the public tender process – the... > More

How to make procurement cost-effective

The process of procurement for public sector bodies has a bad reputation.  Due to necessary regulations, buying in services or products can take organisations months. The government says... > More

How does government procurement work?

The government procurement policy requirement is that all public procurement must be based on value for money. This is defined as “the best mix of quality and effectiveness for the least outlay... > More