Sudden death due to ventricular fibrillation (VF) is the leading cause of death in the United States. Early defibrillation is the most important determinant of survival and is the key element in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Obstacles to rapid defibrillation by trained emergency personnel persist, but the development of the automated external defibrillator (AED) promises to realize the goal of widespread early defibrillation and translate to an improved chance for survival for the cardiac arrest victim. Technological advancements have made the AED safe, easy to use, accurate, and effective in terminating VF. Use of the AED by trained nontraditional first responders (e.g., firefighters, police officers, flight crews) has improved survival rates in a variety of settings and forms the basis for public-access defibrillation.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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