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Sharp Health News

What’s in an AED kit? (infographic)

Dec. 14, 2017

When someone has a heart attack, using an AED (automated external defibrillator) can regulate their heart rhythm and, ultimately, save their life. In fact, combined with CPR, AEDs can increase the odds of survival to 40 percent or more. But despite their public accessibility, many people don't know what they are or how to use them.

We asked Marti Repik, a Basic Life Support (BLS) instructor at the Sharp HealthCare Cardiac Training Center, to shed light on these lifesaving devices.

What's in an AED kit? (infographic). You may have seen one at the gym, on airplanes or at the mall. But what is it? And more importantly, what does it do? What it is. An AED (automated external defibrillator) is a portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. When someone has a heart attack, an AED can help stop an irregular heartbeat, allowing a normal rhythm to resume. Why it matters. Accompanied by CPR, an AED can mean the difference between life or death. For each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced approximately ten percent. Heart attacks affect more than 300,000 people over age 40 every year. The use of an AED can increase the odds of surviving a heart attack to 40 percent or higher. Inside an AED kit. AED. The device itself uses voice prompts, lights and/or text messages to guide the rescuer. Pads. Details illustrating pad placement typically are printed on each pad. Wire connectors. To plug the pads into the device. Biohazard bag. For safely disposing of disposable contents after use. Gloves. To protect both the person and rescuer, and help keep the environment sterile. Scissors. For cutting the person's clothing quickly, to access their chest. Razor. To shave the person's chest, if needed, to give the pads direct contact. Disinfecting wipes. To clean the areas of the person's body where the pads will go. Towelette. To dry the person's body in preparation for possible electric shock. CPR mask. Together with an oxygen inlet, this is used to optimize the breating portion of CPR. Learn to save a life. AEDs are meant to be used with CPR. To take a CPR class, and learn how to operate an AED, visit From the expert.

View the printable version of this infographic.

For the news media: To talk with Marti Repik about AEDs for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

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