An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can potentially stop an irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. If not treated within minutes, it quickly leads to death.
AEDs are part of emergency response programs that also include rapid use of 9-1-1 and prompt delivery of cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). All three of these activities are vital to improving survival from SCA. Two Thompson School District students have experienced SCA requiring the school AED as part of the emergency response provided by school staff and students. Happily, both students fully recovered.