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  • Dr. Steven Horwitz

How Not to Get Electrocuted When Using An AED


Certain special circumstances require extra care when determining if and how to use an AED. All AED units have their own intended use statements, so we recommend all AED owners review their unit’s requirements.


General Contraindications to AED use:

  • The victim is conscious

  • The victim is breathing

  • The victim has a pulse


"Analyzing, stand clear."

When the AED is in "analyzing" mode, it checks to see if there is a "shockable" rhythm. A shockable rhythm means either ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. The victim will be unconscious in both situations. All rescuers must take their hands off the victim to allow the AED to analyze properly.


"Shock advised. Stand Clear. Keep Your Hands Off the Victim."

Do not touch the patient with any part of your body while the AED is delivering a shock. Clear the area around the victim and prevent anyone else from touching the victim. Some AEDs will give the owner the option of setting it to shock with or without pressing the shock button. Check the user manual.


Is the victim in the rain, snow, wet grass, wet poolside? Move the victim to a dry surface.


During cardiac arrest, a person’s chances of survival drop by 10% per minute, so it is critical that you quickly decide when to use on AED and determine where it is located.

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