Answering Common Questions about the Use of Defibrillators

Because the general population is infrequently exposed to defibrillators (AEDs), it is understandable that there is some scepticism.

Most people associate AEDs and defibrillation with images of unconscious patients shaking their entire bodies violently when paramedics place a defibrillator pad on their chest. However, these situations are greatly exaggerated.

Unfortunately, most people will need to come into contact with a defibrillator during an emergency. In this scenario, seeing a friend, coworker, or even a stranger creates a great deal of worry and concern.

In this article, we will be answering some common questions about defibrillators.

Do They All Have Hand-Held Paddles?

Unlike what you see on TV, current automated external defibrillators don’t come with two handled paddles that you must place on the individual’s chest.

There are defibrillators with paddles. However, they are often bigger and utilised in hospitals. The standard defibrillator found in public places or carried by paramedics is a less dramatic but no less important piece of equipment than the one shown in your favourite medical drama.

Can You Hurt Someone with an AED?

Contrary to common belief, AEDs are extremely rare to cause injury to either the patient or the rescuer during usage. An AED analyses the patient's cardiac rhythm and only administers a "shock" if necessary.

Can You Use It without Training?

It is incorrect to believe that AEDs can only be used by medical personnel. AEDs are meant to be used by the general public without professional training and come with vocal and visual instructions to help the operator. According to the Australian Resuscitation Council, anybody may operate an AED, and it should not be limited to qualified individuals.

While defibrillators are supposed to be simple to operate, rescuing someone is never straightforward. Helping save someone's life involves the proper equipment, expertise, and mental fortitude to remain calm and focused.

Can You Use an AED Multiple Times?

AEDs do not have an expiration date and can be used again as long as the defibrillator pads

and the battery is replaced after each usage, as the manufacturer recommends.

Can a Pacemaker Interfere with a Defibrillator?

Even if a patient has a pacemaker, a defibrillator should be used. However, the upper right electrode pad must be positioned somewhat away from the pacemaker scar (a few inches closer to the patient's arm).

Can an AED Restart Someone Who Has Flatlined?

Most occurrences of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are caused by an irregularity in the heart's electrical rhythm known as ventricular fibrillation (VF) or ventricular tachycardia (VT). 

Defibrillation is using a controlled electric shock to interrupt the chaotic rhythm of VF/VT and restore the heart's normal, structured electrical rhythm. No electrical activity can reset a patient's heart if it has stopped beating. When cardiac arrest occurs, CPR should be performed until emergency personnel arrive.


Defibrillators or AEDs are devices that can be used to restore normal heart rhythm in people who are experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. These devices are easy to use and can be found in many public places, such as airports and shopping malls. 

If you are ever in a situation where someone needs CPR, using a defibrillator can be a life-saving measure. We hope that this article has clarified some common misconceptions about AEDs.

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