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Can You Use a Defibrillator on Someone with No Heartbeat?

Can You Use a Defibrillator on Someone with No Heartbeat? Automated External Defibrillator (AED), is known for its ability to help those who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest, ventricular fibrillation, arrhythmia, or an abnormal heart rhythm. The defibrillator delivers an electric shock to the patient to assist in restoring a normal heart rhythm and heart rate. However, can a defibrillator restart a stopped heart?

It is not new news that these devices have become extremely popular due to developments in technology. You could search for this device in various buildings, such as malls, sports clubs, schools, businesses, and other public properties. Defibrillation is required when a victim’s heart starts beating in an abnormal manner; the heart rate is often so rapid that it pumps out very little blood to the rest of the body. The automated external defibrillator, AED, uses an electric shock to restore a normal heart rhythm. 

What is a Defibrillator?

Defibrillation is a medical treatment that people use to treat medical life-threatening heart rhythm disorders including cardiac arrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation, and ventricular tachycardia.

What is Defibrillation

The treatment involves administering an electrical shock to the heart, which induces depolarization of the heart muscle and restores normal electric impulse conduction. AEDs are the devices or machines that provide the shock to the heart to restore a normal rhythm. A medical defibrillator cannot be used to treat a heart attack or any associated pain. People need to find AEDs that they believe are going to deliver the best possible shock to their hearts. 

The different types of AEDs that people use are:

  1. External AEDs
  2. Transvenous AEDs
  3. Implanted AEDs 
  4. Pacemakers

There are other factors to consider when purchasing a defibrillator, as many of the devices have accessories such as:

  • Defibrillator pads – often called smart or training electrodes or pads. These are what make contact with the patient’s body.
  • The battery – It is essential to check the battery of your AED regularly. People find that they may need to replace the battery after using the defibrillator a few times. Hence, these can be purchased separately.
  • Carrying cases or wall mounts – You want to ensure that you have a safe place for your defibrillator so that you do not have to search for it in times of need. 

Can You Use an AED on Someone with a Stopped Heart?

The short answer to this is no. An AED can only be used on someone with a rapid heart rate. You cannot use it on victims with an extremely slow heart rhythm or those whose heart stops beating. 

When the user puts the pads or electrodes on the victim’s chest, the AED determines whether the victim’s heart needs an electric shock or not. The defibrillation device instructs and guides the user on the next steps in the process. Many of the advanced models talk to the user to give clear instructions and automatically deliver the electric shock if it is necessary. 

Can You Use an AED on Someone with a Stopped Heart

Hence, if the victim’s heart has stopped or there is no heartbeat, the AED device is not going to detect that an electrical shock is needed, which is why using an AED on someone whose heart has stopped is not effective. 

How Do You Identify When Someone Experiences Cardiac Arrest?

If you suspect that someone is experiencing cardiac arrest and you may need an AED, search for the following symptoms:

  1. The loss of a pulse
  2. No breathing or gasping for air
  3. The person suddenly collapses
  4. The victim experiences a loss of consciousness
  5. Experiences pain or body discomfort
  6. Feelings of weakness
  7. An extremely rapid or abnormal heart rhythm

Can You Use an AED on a Drowning Victim?

A victim of sudden cardiac arrest, SCA, is given an electrical shock using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Since an AED uses electrical activity, it must be used with caution if the victim is in or near water. Drowning is a common cause of sudden cardiac arrest, so it is crucial for users to know how to use an AED safely near water or on a drowning patient. A few tips when it comes to using a defibrillator on a drowning victim include :

  1. Take the victim out of the water
  2. Take off the person’s wet clothes
  3. Check to see if their body is dry
  4. Keep a safe distance

Can You Use an AED on a Drowning Victim

Take the Victim Out of the Water

For starters, an AED cannot be used when the victim is still submerged. Furthermore, providing high-quality CPR when a person is still in the water is impractical. As a consequence, you can extract the victim from the water if it is possible to do so. Always try not to jeopardize your own protection or you might become a second victim, exacerbating the situation.

Take Off the Victim’s Wet Clothes

The victim’s bare chest must be covered with AED pads. As a result, wet clothing that covers the chest must be removed. Many AEDs come with scissors that can be used to remove a victim’s clothes. To avoid any delays in using the defibrillator, make sure the clothing is removed as soon as possible. When coping with a sudden cardiac arrest, SCA, case, time is of the essence!

Check to See if the Chest is Dry

An AED’s electrical shock must be applied to the patient’s heart. The electrical shock would be transmitted through the water on the chest rather than through the victim’s body if there is water on the chest. Since electrical activity follows the path of least resistance, this happens. As a consequence, make sure the patient’s chest is fully dry before applying the AED pads. A small towel for drying the victim’s chest is included with many AEDs.

The most crucial factor is to not use the automated external defibrillator, AED when the person is wet. 

Keep a Safe Distance

Before the AED delivers the electrical shock, make sure no one is near the patient. Give a loud verbal alert and conduct a visual search to ensure that nobody is in close contact with the patient.

What Happens if You do CPR on Someone Who is Breathing?

While many people have believed that it is dangerous to perform CPR on someone with a pulse or beating heart, this is not the case. You do not harm a person who is breathing if you deliver CPR. In fact, it is better to be safe than sorry. You would rather deliver CPR to a person who is breathing than to later find out that their heart stops beating or they experience cardiac arrest, SCA, or a heart attack. 

What is CPR?

If you notice that a person stops breathing or their pulse ceases, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, called CPR is an emergency treatment that may help save their life.

Cardiac arrest occurs when a person’s heart stops beating. Their heart muscle cannot pump blood to the rest of their body, including the lungs or brain, during SCA. Without care, death often occurs in minutes. 

An essential factor to note is that a heart attack is not the same as cardiac arrest. When blood cannot flow to the heart, a heart attack occurs. An individual who is experiencing a heart attack can still speak and breathe. This person does not need CPR or an AED device, but they must be taken to the hospital as soon as possible. A heart attack raises the chances of cardiac arrest or SCA. 

How does CPR increase the chances of survival and living a normal life? CPR imitates the pumping action of the heart by using chest compression. These compressions aid in the circulation of blood in the body and muscle. 

How Do You Perform CPR?

To practice CPR, you do not require a specific qualification or formal medical training, but you do need the necessary knowledge. Do not be alarmed if anyone close to you suffers from cardiac arrest or SCA – you can prepare yourself for the situation. If you see a person who is having a heart attack, take the following steps:

  • Immediately dial 911. If any people are nearby, save time by making them call 911 so that you can search for an automatic external defibrillator, called an AED, as you start CPR. AEDs deliver shocks to the patient to restart a normal rhythm.
  • CPR should be administered. Start pushing down in the middle of the chest hard and fast at a pace of 100 to 120 pushes per minute. After each compression, allow the body to return to its’ normal position. This type of CPR is referred to as “hands-only” because it does not include mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Do not search for a way to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation if you do not know how to, as this is only going to waste time. 
  • Continue with the CPR process until medical assistance arrives or an expert with advanced CPR training is available to assist instead.

Is It Okay to Use an AED on a Pregnant Woman?

Sudden cardiac arrest, SCA, is a risk that may occur during pregnancy. In the past, people have been confused on how to handle this situation, including healthcare providers. Fortunately, this is no longer the case and there is an answer of how to handle the situation when arrhythmia, sudden cardiac arrest, or ventricular fibrillation occurs to a pregnant person. Can you use an AED? Can you perform CPR?

The American Heart Association issued detailed guidelines on the complex topic of sudden cardiac arrest during pregnancy, which is based on scientific news. The frequency at which sudden cardiac arrest occurs is unknown. According to resources, cardiac arrest, or the sudden failure of heart function triggered by a disruption of the electrical system of the heart, occurs in one out of every 12,000 pregnant women admitted for delivery in the United States. 

Additionally, the most common causes of maternal SCA in the United States heart failure, amniotic fluid embolism (when the fluid surrounding the infant reaches the mother’s bloodstream and results in an allergic response), bleeding, and sepsis, a serious infection. According to resources, the survival rate of a pregnant person who experiences sudden cardiac arrest in a hospital is 60%. 

According to relevant news, there are steps that people can take to save pregnant women who are experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. The first step is to dial 911 and inform the healthcare provider that the woman is pregnant and at risk of sudden cardiac death. This is going to notify the emergency medical system, which dispatches additional EMS personnel and transports the person to a hospital or health center capable of performing an emergency C-section if required.

If external defibrillators, AEDs, are available, it is safe to use.

One does not need to be afraid of causing harm to the unborn infant. The electrical shock of the defibrillator or cardiopulmonary resuscitation does not threaten the life of the child in any way. There is a greater risk of sudden cardiac death if a person does not use an automated external defibrillator on the patient. 

If the user manages to restore a normal heart rhythm in the pregnant woman, the patient should be put on her left side to increase blood flow and oxygen to the heart and thus the child.

The research also contains specific guidelines for the different levels of treatment offered by EMS and hospital personnel to a pregnant woman and her infant. According to the study, women with chronic health conditions or underlying disorders should be informed about the complications of pregnancy prior to becoming pregnant. make sure that you have the necessary treatment available if you are pregnant and at risk of sudden cardiac arrest or ventricular fibrillation. 

It is critical that all hospitals and healthcare providers have a sudden cardiac arrest, SCA response plan for pregnant women. There are advanced training programs that assist in the treatment of sudden cardiac arrest during pregnancy. 

Is It Okay to Use an AED on a Child?

Many people are worried about using an AED on an infant or young child because it provides an electrical shock to the heart. Can a child’s or infant’s body handle this? Yes, you can. AEDs also help to restore the natural heart rhythm in a child or infant’s body.

Using AEDs on Young Children: Is It Safe?

To begin, it is essential to understand that AEDs are safe to use on children under the age of eight and even infants. The fastest way to treat a child or baby in sudden cardiac arrest, SCA, is to perform successful CPR and use external defibrillators, AEDs. The condition could be life-threatening in minutes without adequate CPR and the use of an AED device to restart or restore the heart and its normal heart rhythm.

Since young children and infants have such tiny and fragile bodies, it is much more crucial to restart their hearts and get it beating as soon as possible. This strategy allows oxygen in the blood to circulate freely across their body, which supplies the brain and vital organ functions and limits harm to these functions.

How to Utilize an AED Device on Children and Infants

The following could put your mind at ease when it comes to using an AED on a child or infant:

  • Identify sudden cardiac arrest – Cardiac arrest or SCA may strike without an indication and can have adverse effects on children who are otherwise fit and stable without any health issues. SCA or cardiac arrest causes a child to become unconscious, stop breathing, become unresponsive, gasp for air, and have no pulse or heartbeat.

  • Please call the relevant emergency health services. They are going to dispatch an ambulance and remain on the line with you to provide assistance.

  • Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation, called CPR – It is crucial to begin CPR while getting the AED device. Efficient CPR can provide blood to the brain and other essential organs, extending the AED’s effectiveness. If your AED has a child-friendly environment, it instructs you on how to give CPR to a child. Place two fingers on the middle of the chest and compress tightly at 100-120 beats per minute. Between compressions, completely remove your hand or fingers from the chest to allow the patient’s chest to expand. This process would help to pump oxygen in the blood in their bodies. If you are comfortable doing so, you can deliver mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

  • Obtain an AED – Schools, care centers, public places, gyms, and hospitals are all popular places to find them. Obtaining an AED as soon as possible is crucial.

  • Switch on the AED device – Defibrillators are intended to be used by anybody so the device can direct you through the process. If the child is wet, wipe them off and remove them from the submerged or wet surface. Child or infant electrode pads or a switch to adjust the AED to a child-friendly setting are available on some defibrillators. Use your AED even if it does not have a specific child setting.

  • Follow the guidelines – The AED device informs you where to position the electrode pads using voice instructions and visual aids. If you only have adult pads, placed one in the center of their body and the other in the middle of their back, aligned with the front pad.

  • Follow the on-screen instructions – The AED tracks the child’s heart rhythm and heartbeat and administers an electrical shock when required, and guides you on when to start CPR and deliver emergency shocks before medical services arrive.

Do Not be Afraid to Treat a Child or Infant Who Experiences Cardiac Arrest, SCA

People must intervene in the event of cardiac arrest or SCA if they want to save the patient’s life. Firstly, you need to call 911 immediately. This allows paramedics and healthcare to be dispatched to your area as quickly as possible. Additionally, the operator is going to assist you in evaluating the child and, if appropriate, guide you on how to start CPR.

While an AED is being recovered, begin CPR to ensure that blood and oxygen are delivered to the brain and other essential organs. Efficient CPR extends the time it takes an AED to restart or restore the heart and the heart rhythm; without CPR and defibrillators, the chances of survival decrease by 10% each minute that passes by.

Early defibrillation enhances survival chances; when an AED is used by a member of the public before paramedics arrive, the survival rate is over 60%.

Even if it does not have a child-friendly atmosphere, an AED device is the patient’s best hope of survival. The system does not harm children and is only going to administer a shock if it is necessary. As a result, it cannot shock a child or person by mistake.

There are few things more painful than a child passing away unexpectedly – but the good news is that there are ways to help avoid this from happening by simply beginning CPR and utilizing an AED device quickly in an emergency. These devices are easy and efficient, and they were created so that any person can help save a life.

Get Your AED Training and Defibrillator Today!

Contact AED USA and scroll the menu of AEDs today to buy a defibrillator for your office building, house, school, or health center. We offer cost-effective and high-quality AEDs throughout the United States, as well as first aid CPR, and AED training through our various programs. We can all help in saving lives if we work together and educate ourselves on the survival techniques or services! The AED USA site has a menu of different certification courses for you to choose from. 


Various circumstances can cause a person to experience cardiac arrest, ventricular fibrillation, arrhythmia, or an abnormal heart rhythm, which is when you should deliver defibrillation with AEDs alongside performing CPR. While people may be scared to use a defibrillator and the pads because of its advanced technology and ability to deliver an electrical shock to the heart, these defibrillation devices are safe to use on a wide range of patients and do not cause pain to the user or victim or the heart rhythm. 

While you cannot use a defibrillator to cure a heart attack or help someone whose heart has already stopped beating, these machines are safe to use on infants, children, adults, pregnant women, and even people who have suffered from drowning. If you need to restore a normal rhythm to the heart muscle, defibrillation devices are an excellent option. 

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