Demystifying AEDs: Common Myths and Misconceptions Debunked

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are life-saving devices designed to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) victims by delivering electrical shocks to the heart. The use of AEDs dramatically increases the chances of survival, especially when combined with effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). However, despite their significance in emergency situations, misconceptions and myths surrounding AEDs often persist, deterring individuals and organisations from implementing these critical devices in their homes, workplaces, or communities.

Such misconceptions not only impede the adoption of AEDs but also pose a significant risk for SCA victims who may miss out on crucial interventions during an emergency. With over 30,000 Australians experiencing an out-of-hospital SCA each year, it is essential to dispel these misunderstandings and promote a more accurate understanding of AEDs, ultimately encouraging widespread adoption.

This blog aims to debunk common myths and misconceptions about AEDs, shedding light on their ease of use, effectiveness, and critical role in saving lives during SCA emergencies. By addressing these myths and providing accurate information, we hope to expand the general public's understanding of AEDs and their importance, ultimately fostering wider acceptance and usage in various settings.

Additionally, we will showcase how Restart the Heart, a trusted Australian defibrillator supplier, is committed to assisting individuals, businesses and organisations in implementing AED programs that contribute to heart-safe communities.

Debunking AED Myths: Truths and Misconceptions Explained

Myth 1: AED Usage Requires Extensive Training

User-Friendly, Life-Saving Devices

One widespread misconception about AEDs is that their operation requires professional training and expertise. In reality, modern AED devices have been specifically designed for easy use by the general public, even those with little or no first aid experience.

AEDs incorporate user-friendly features, such as clear voice prompts, guiding the user through each step of the process, including pad placement, CPR instructions, and shock delivery. Many devices also come with visual indicators, such as diagrams, to further simplify the process. With these intuitive features, even untrained bystanders can successfully operate an AED during an emergency.

While AEDs are designed for straightforward use, it is still beneficial to complete certified CPR and AED training courses. These courses equip individuals with valuable skills and confidence to respond more effectively in an SCA emergency.

Myth 2: AEDs are Only for Adults

Protecting Lives Across All Ages

Another common myth is that AEDs are suitable only for adult SCA victims, causing hesitation or confusion when life-threatening events involve children or infants. Properly instructed lay responders can use AEDs with paediatric pads on young victims, significantly improving chances of survival.

Many AED devices are equipped with paediatric settings or have specific paediatric pads available for use on children between the ages of 1 and 8 or those weighing less than 25 kg. These paediatric pads provide a reduced shock dosage appropriate for young victims. In the absence of paediatric pads, standard adult pads and settings can be employed with caution to avoid withholding potential life-saving treatment.

To ensure timely and proper assistance, it is essential for individuals with AEDs available to familiarise themselves with their device's paediatric capabilities and instructions.

Myth 3: AEDs Can Cause Harm to SCA Victims

Built-in Safety Mechanisms for Secure Application

There is a lingering belief that if used incorrectly, AEDs can cause harm to SCA victims or deliver unnecessary shocks. Contrary to this notion, AEDs are designed with built-in safety mechanisms that assess the victim's heart rhythm and only deliver shocks when necessary.

An AED uses its internal algorithm to determine whether the victim has a "shockable" rhythm indicating an SCA. If the device does not detect such a rhythm, the AED will not allow a shock to be administered. This safety feature ensures that an AED cannot deliver a shock to a person who doesn't need one, rendering the device safe for use even by inexperienced individuals.

Myth 4: AEDs are Unreliable and Ineffective

The Life-Saving Impact of AEDs and CPR

The notion that AEDs are unreliable or ineffective in treating SCA emergencies is a dangerous myth that could deter people from utilising these indispensable devices. In reality, AEDs have repeatedly proven effective in increasing chances of survival when combined with CPR.

Research shows that victims receiving CPR alone have a survival rate between 2-5%, whereas victims treated with AEDs and CPR have a notably higher survival rate, often above 50%. Timely AED administration can even increase survival rates up to 75% when the device is used within the first few minutes following an SCA. AEDs are essential tools for providing quick and proper treatment to SCA victims, maximising the odds of survival and satisfactory recovery.

Restart the Heart's Continued Support

Your Partner in AED Awareness and Implementation

To promote wider adoption of AEDs in various settings, it is crucial to dispel myths and misconceptions, replacing them with accurate knowledge and understanding. Restart the Heart plays an essential role in this endeavour, supporting individuals and organisations in establishing heart-safe spaces through expert guidance, dependable AED products, and ongoing assistance.

From helping select the ideal device to providing customized training and maintenance, Restart the Heart ensures seamless integration of AED programs into countless environments, advocating for increased accessibility and comprehensive understanding of these life-saving devices.


By debunking these common myths and misconceptions surrounding AEDs, we aim to increase awareness and understanding of the devices' ease of use, effectiveness, and importance in saving SCA victims' lives. As more individuals and organisations become equipped with this knowledge, we anticipate broader adoption of AEDs in diverse settings, ultimately fostering heart-safe communities that prioritise swift and effective emergency response.

Take action to educate yourself and your community about the incredible life-saving potential of AEDs. Partner with Restart the Heart in your journey to create heart-safe environments for everyone, and rest assured in knowing you've chosen an invaluable ally dedicated to protecting lives.

Get started with your trusted AED supplier, Restart the Heart. Browse our extensive range of AED products and services, and contact us today for expert guidance and support!