Can AEDs Bring People Back to Life? – Defibrillator Myths, Zombies, and Saving Lives
One topic of fascination in the entertainment industry is bringing the dead back to life! We are familiar with Dr. Frankenstein and his monster, zombie apocalypses, and even magical resurrections. Although these are fictional concepts, there is one very real concept that many believe ACTUALLY brings people back to life – an AED! This amazing life-saving device that restarts a stopped heart… right? This is actually a common myth! Here’s what you need to know about saving lives, zombies, and bringing people back to life!
When Should Defibrillators Be Used?
Defibrillators are used when a heart is beating either too fast or too slow (arrhythmia) which causes the heart’s upper chambers to beat out of time with the lower chambers (called atrial fibrillation). This irregularity can lead to blood clots which can lead to stroke, heart attack, and eventually cardiac arrest. If cardiac arrest occurs, an individual will collapse unconscious and will require immediate attention. When this happens, the person is not deceased, and it is at this time that an AED should be used as soon as possible (within only a couple minutes)!
How Does an AED Work?
Although medical shows focus on professional medical treatments to save lives, these television shows don’t always get it right! One of the biggest errors seen on television is the incorrect usage of an AED. What are they doing wrong? In the shows we often see a patient flatlining, doctors and nurses rushing to the bedside, and the AED paddles being used repeatedly until the ‘blip’ of a heartbeat comes back on the monitor. But defibrillators don’t work like that!
An AED analyzes the chaotic heart beat and sends a shock into the body only if it reads a shockable rhythm (fibrillation). This shock attempts to kickstart the heart to its normal rhythm. Sometimes it may take one shock, other times it may a few, but the key is to keep going and not stop until help arrives! If the person’s heart cannot be restored and not enough oxygen is given to the brain, then sadly they will flatline and death is the result. It is at this point that an AED will no longer work.
Can AEDs Bring People Back to Life?
To answer the big question about whether AEDs can bring people back to life, the answer is unfortunately, no. The only reason it ‘appears’ that an AED brings someone back to life is because individuals suffering a cardiac arrest are not breathing and unconscious without a pulse, making them appear lifeless. But they are still alive! When an AED is used at this point, it will ‘de-fibrillate’ the heart into a normal rhythm, sending oxygen to the brain and body once again, and saving their life!
Could an AED Be Used on a Zombie??
Although there is no official answer to this, the answer is probably no! A zombie is someone who is ‘dead but alive’ (aka living dead). Therefore it has to be assumed that they are still dead and therefore have no need for oxygen or blood to be pumped through the body. With this in mind, if an AED was to be used on a zombie, there would be no irregular heartbeat to restore! Plus, you have to get very close to apply pads to the Zombie’s chest, and getting that close to a Zombie is not something we recommend (except for on halloween night…). Do you agree? Do you think an AED could work in a fictional setting on a zombie?
When it comes to saving a life with an AED, a person needs to still be alive in order for it to work. Learn more about defibrillator myths, how to use an AED, and what to do in case of a heart attack or stroke by taking a First Aid Course! You never know when you will need to save a life!
What many do not realize is that there are a number of myths that are confusing our understanding of AEDs. Do you know the right answers? Or are these shocking AED myths ones that you have believed too?