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Discover the answers to the most frequently asked questions about automated external defibrillators and sudden cardiac arrest with our defibrillator FAQ page.

A sudden and unexpected abnormality in the heart’s electrical system which causes the heart to stop beating normally. During an SCA, blood stops flowing properly and the patient collapses. The only way to restore their heart rhythm is by administering a shock immediately. Anyone can do this by using an AED – as long as one is available.

No. A heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when the heart’s blood supply is reduced or blocked. The heart muscle becomes injured or may start to die. During a heart attack, the victim is conscious and may complain about symptoms.

An SCA is an electrical problem in the heart which causes the heart to beat in an irregular, inefficient manner. Because blood can’t reach the brain, the patient passes out.

A heart attack victim has a pulse whereas an SCA patient does not. With a modern AED, you don’t need to know the difference – it will sense the patient’s heart rhythm and determine the best steps to take. You’ll receive guidance at every stage.

Defibrillation is giving an electric shock to the heart in order to reset its electrical system and allow a normal, effective heart rhythm to return.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) can be used delivers that shock. It analyses the patient’s heart rhythm and, if necessary, provides instructions on how to deliver it.

If a person collapses or loses consciousness, and either doesn’t have a pulse or isn’t breathing properly, you need to urgently intervene. If the patient is unconscious – even if he or she is gasping for breath or having seizures – use the AED.

You don’t have to make a correct diagnosis yourself. The Philips AED will analyse the patient’s heart rhythm and tell you to deliver a shock – but only if it is needed. Simply open the AED and follow the clear, calm voice instructions. You’ll be told how put the pads on the patient so that the AED machine can detect their heart rhythm.

Philips AEDs are designed to be very simple to use. Once you open the AED, a clear, calm voice walks you through the entire rescue process as you do it—at your own pace. The device can tell what step you’re on and will adjust its instructions accordingly.

The most important thing you need to do is act. If there is an AED nearby, find it and open it. The heart needs to be restored to a normal rhythm within 3 – 5 minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest to give the patient the best chance of survival.

No, not if you follow the instructions from the AED. AEDs are designed to help people whose hearts have stopped working effectively. If the AED instructs you to deliver a shock, the person you are helping is already clinically dead. Your actions can only help. You may be able to restore a healthy heart rhythm and save their life.

The best chance to survive a sudden cardiac arrest is if the patient is shocked within 3 – 5 minutes. Often, emergency responders can’t arrive within that small timeframe, due to traffic congestion and other factors.

Philips AEDs are designed so that anyone can use them immediately. However, training is still a good idea. The more familiar you are with the signs of a SCA and using an AED, the more likely you are to be calm and helpful in an actual emergency.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is one way to help a victim of SCA. It uses chest compressions and may include rescue breathing.

Both cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED machines have a role to play in saving lives. Performing either is better than doing nothing. Performing both CPR and using an AED together can give the patient an even greater chance of survival.

The AED is designed to tell you exactly what you need to do. It keeps pace with what you are doing and adapts its instructions so that it doesn’t overwhelm or pressurise you. If necessary, it will repeat the prompts, rephrasing them or adding additional instructions to help you understand.
Philips AEDs are designed with Life Guidance, a simple step-by-step process designed to help you act confidently and decisively. Life Guidance acts as your personal coach to guide you through a cardiac emergency, including detailed CPR coaching. If needed, the prompts will automatically be repeated or rephrased, and may include additional instructions to help you understand.
The person’s best chance of survival is to receive that shock within five minutes of collapse. A defibrillator will not save every person who experiences SCA, but more lives could be saved if those affected were reached more quickly. Your quick response makes a real difference. Philips AED’s also have patented Quick Shock, HeartStart is among the fastest in its class at delivering shock treatment after CPR, typically in just eight seconds.
The defibrillator assesses the patient’s heart rhythm. If a shock is advised, it directs you to press the flashing orange shock button. If the defibrillator determines that a shock is not called for, you cannot deliver a shock, even if you press the shock button.
HeartStart includes proven Philips SMART Analysis technology for heart rhythm assessment. This is a sophisticated algorithm that simultaneously evaluates several attributes of a person’s heart rhythm to determine if a shock is needed.
A technology called SMART Biphasic Impedance Compensation helps HeartStart deliver the right amount of current and energy. Smart Biphasic is the first biphasic therapy with sufficient evidence to be classed “standard of care” and “intervention of choice” by the American Heart Association. The effectiveness of SMART Analysis and SMART Biphasic are backed by over 40 published, peer-reviewed studies.1
Yes. A special training SMART Pads cartridge can be installed in the defibrillator. It disables the defibrillator’s ability to shock, while walking you through patient care scenarios. We also offer easily accessible, online training that covers everything from setting up an AED program to replacing your defibrillator’s battery.